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Apple Reiterates Inability to Unlock iOS Devices Running iOS 8 or Higher in New Court Filing
Apple's response is not a surprise, as it is the same thing the company has said several times in the past. Since iOS 8, Apple has stopped storing encryption keys for devices, making it impossible for the company to unlock iPhones and iPads under police request. Without an encryption key, Apple cannot bypass a passcode to gain access to an iOS device.
In a brief filed with the court, Apple said 90 percent of its devices are running iOS 8 or higher and are thus inaccessible. Apple is able to access the 10 percent of devices that continue to use iOS 7 or below, but the company told the judge that being forced to comply with the Justice Department's request could tarnish its brand.
"Forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand," Apple's lawyers wrote.Apple's encryption changes, implemented in 2014 with iOS 8, have been unpopular with some law enforcement officials. FBI Director James Comey has expressed concern that encryption implemented by companies like Google and Apple lets people "place themselves above the law."
Just yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook told an interviewer encryption is a necessity and that software backdoors are unacceptable, reiterating Apple's long-standing opinion on the subject.
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