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US government appeals Apple win in Brooklyn iPhone encryption battle

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Federal prosecutors urged a US judge in Brooklyn, New York, to reverse a ruling last week that Apple Inc. didn't have to help the government unlock an iPhone used by a drug dealer.

[NEW YORK] Federal prosecutors urged a US judge in Brooklyn, New York, to reverse a ruling last week that Apple Inc. didn't have to help the government unlock an iPhone used by a drug dealer.

The government filed its appeal on Monday, saying that Apple routinely unlocked iPhones for the government until very recently and that the case "in no way upends the balance between privacy and security."

"The Department of Justice has made the same application, for the same assistance, from the same company, dozens of times before," prosecutors said in a 51-page brief. "The company has complied every time. Until now." After helping prosecutors unlock at least 70 iPhones, Apple last year stopped cooperating and said the company would no longer serve as the government's helper.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said last month that US demands for iPhone access are a chilling attack on privacy. The government disagreed, saying Apple is more concerned about its marketing and brand identity than about the safety of the public.

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The issue gained new urgency in February when a California judge ordered Apple to assist investigators by unlocking the phone used by the gunman in a massacre in San Bernardino. Apple is fighting that case.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, didn't immediately return a request for comment on the filing.

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