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For several years, the United States Department of Justice and Apple have been at odds over whether Apple could be required to assist the government in unlocking iPhones used by persons under investigation for criminal conduct.  In 2016, the government and Apple litigated this issue in federal court in California in a case involving access to an iPhone used by one of the persons responsible for the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California.  They again litigated this issue in Brooklyn, New York, in a case involving an iPhone seized from a narcotics trafficking suspect.  Neither litigations, however, resulted in final determinations on the merits because the government was, in the end, able to access the devices at issue without Apple’s assistance.  Yet once again the government and Apple are at loggerheads over this question — this time over access to iPhones used by a Saudi military trainee who last fall killed three sailors at a Navy base in Pensacola, Florida. 

Joseph V. DeMarco of DeVore & DeMarco LLP, who filed amicus briefs in the 2016 litigations, and who previously prosecuted cybercrime as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York will address:

  • What is the basis for compelling Apple or another third party to assist the government in its criminal investigations in accessing encrypted communications using its networks or platforms? 
  • What are the key legal and policy issues at stake in this controversy? 
  • What are the implications of this crucial debate for privacy and national security as well as for criminal and civil litigations in state and federal court?



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