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Government says Apple licenses iOS, it doesn't sell it

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Government says Apple licenses iOS, it doesn't sell it
According to the government, you don't own the software inside your iPhone or iPad. This came up during a recent legal tussle involving the Department of Justice. The DOJ is trying to get Apple to crack encrypted code inside an iPhone that is part of a court case. Apple says that not only does it not have to do this, it claims that it doesn't have the technical prowess to do so.

Apple's statement that it does not have to do the DOJ's bidding was basically shot down by Justice Department lawyers that claim Apple does not sell you iOS, it licenses it to you. The distinction is important in this case, because with the latter, Apple still owns the copy of iOS in your iPhone. This means that the DOJ can request that Apple decrypt it. If Apple were to sell iOS to you with the purchase of an iPhone, the software would belong to you and the government couldn't force you to let them see it.

This could be a pretty important ruling for future criminal proceedings where the government contends that damaging evidence is stored on the software inside a smartphone. By the way, the phone in the case is an Apple iPhone 5s, and Apple claims that breaking into the phone to fetch the evidence could "tarnish the Apple brand." According to the government's filing, Apple also doesn't want to assist the government because of the time and money involved in doing so. The DOJ says that these costs are minor compared to the profits that Apple has made selling the iPhone over the years. The filing states that Apple has no legal grounds for not helping the government with this matter.

The DOJ has asked for an expedited ruling so that it can force Apple to fetch the information from the specific iPhone in time for the trial, which is scheduled to begin on November 16th.

Thanks for the tip!

source: boingboing

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