The U.S. Justice Department is examining court orders that could force Apple to open iPhones to help with criminal investigations, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal.
The report published late Monday – citing people familiar with the matter – alleged the Justice Department is looking at a dozen cases that would also ask Apple to design software to help investigators bypass the security features built into the phones.
Last week a U.S. magistrate judge ordered Apple to help the FBI hack into an encrypted iPhone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people in December.
The ruling would require Apple to create special software enabling the FBI to bypass the built-in self-destruct feature that erases the phone’s data after too many unsuccessful passcode attempts.
Apple has opposed the order, stating that providing the FBI with special software would undermine encryption by creating a backdoor that could potentially be used on other future devices.
According to The Wall Street Journal report, the phones were seized in a number of criminal cases; however, details of those cases have not been made public.
Neither Apple nor the U.S. Justice Department have commented on the report.
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