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(Reuters)

Apple Files Arguments in Court Opposing FBI iPhone Request

Technology Reuters

Apple Inc submitted a legal brief on Thursday opposing the U.S. government's attempt to force the technology company to unlock an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, one day before the filing deadline.

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The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking Apple's help to access shooter Rizwan Farook's iPhone by disabling some of its passcode protections. Apple has pushed back, arguing that such a move would set a dangerous precedent and threaten customer security.

In a copy of the brief provided by the company, Apple argued that the government's request is "unprecedented" and violates the company's First Amendment rights.

"This case is not a case about one isolated iPhone," Apple said in the filing, reiterating previous comments.

Earlier in the day FBI Director James Comey told a congressional panel that court approval of the FBI's request was "unlikely to be a trailblazer" for setting a legal precedent.

While the case "will be instructive for other courts," larger policy questions about reasonable law enforcement access to encrypted data will likely need to be resolved by Congress and others, Comey said.

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(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Bill Rigby)