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Privacy business dispute becomes battle between Apple and FBI

When a business finds itself in a heated debate about its practices, its challenger is usually another business. However, one major American company is currently doing battle with the United States government over privacy. Apple, maker of the ubiquitous iPhone, is caught in a legal debate with the FBI over whether the tech giant should be forced to unlock a device owned and used by a killer.

In December of last year, more than a dozen people lost their lives in a shooting in California. One of the shooters had an iPhone that the FBI would like to access to learn more about him. However, any information remaining on the iPhone is blocked by encryption software.

The FBI has asked Apple to unlock the device but the company has refused. In the past, Apple has unlocked similar devices for law enforcement investigations but has since changed its policy to protect the privacy interests of its consumers. It may face more challenges as the FBI seeks to open the phone.

Recently, FBI Director James Comey appeared before a congressional committee to answer questions about the bureau's dispute with Apple. Comey told legislators that the FBI is not trying to set a precedent that it should always be able to hack into electronic devices. Still, some members of Congress raised concerns that the FBI will have sweeping powers to control business and invade consumers' privacy.

Businesses must comply with many regulations relating to many legal issues but in some industries, law and regulation cannot necessarily keep up with the rapid pace of technological change. It is important for businesses to have help from attorneys who keep up with changes in the law and in business.

Source: USA Today, "FBI not trying to send message or set precedent with Apple case, Comey says," Erin Kelly, Feb. 25, 2016

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