Apple has refused to unlock iPhones even after an order by governments on several occasions. (AFP)News 

Apple refused to unlock iPhones for government three times in Arvind Kejriwal’s case against ED

In recent years, governments worldwide have requested Apple’s assistance in unlocking suspects’ iPhones for investigations, with some even seeking court intervention. Apple has previously cooperated in approximately 70 cases but has now started refusing such requests, emphasizing its commitment to privacy.

1. Drug crime of 2016

In 2016, the US government invoked a 227-year-old law, the All Writs Act, which requires the help of third parties to enforce a previous court order. Although it is a universal law, the US government asked Apple to unlock the iPhone 5c of a drug dealer who was accused of distributing methamphetamine. Although prosecutors had a search warrant for the iPhone, it was locked with an unbreakable passcode, so they urged the court to convince Apple to unlock it. However, Apple refused to comply with those requirements, and a Brooklyn judge later ruled that it didn’t really have to.

2. The San Bernardino attack

In another 2016 case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation asked Apple to unlock an iPhone 5s that belonged to one of the 2015 San Bernardino shootings that killed 14 people. Apple refused, telling the FBI that it had provided the information it had and that it could not access the contents of the locked and encrypted iPhone. The FBI simply wanted a master key that could be installed that would allow them to guess the iPhone’s password over and over again without facing security warnings.

Apple CEO Tim Cook called on the U.S. Department of Justice to reverse the order, writing in an email to employees: “At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people and the setting of a dangerous precedent that threatens the civil liberties of all.”

3. The FBI’s attempts

Although the FBI is not involved in the individual case, it has long pursued Apple, urging it to install a backdoor in the iPhone through a special version of iOS that allows security agencies to gain access to the device. However, in all cases, Apple has rejected the requests outright, claiming that it would compromise the security of millions of iPhone users worldwide. While it could help security agencies in certain situations, it wasn’t clear whether criminals would also exploit it to steal other people’s data.

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