Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's communications and IT minister, said last 6 May that a tool for mobile forensics has been developed that can handle smartphones, including Apple's iPhone, according to the New Indian Express. Prasad didn't reveal details about how the secret technology works.
Earlier this year, the iPhone was at the center of a legal battle between Apple and the FBI. The government wanted Apple to help access a locked iPhone 5c used by one of two terrorists involved in a December attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead.
The February 16 court order asserts that the All Writs Act, which dates from 1789, provides the authority to compel Apple’s assistance. That act states that the "Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law."
Apple denied the government's request, even when faced with a court order. The showdown ended in late March when the feds bought a tool from a third party to bypass the phone's security.
Tech firms say that weakening encryption, which scrambles data so it can be read only by the intended person, violates the privacy of device owners. Law enforcement officials counter that encryption hinders their ability to access data in criminal investigations.
In 2010, BlackBerry ran into trouble in India and other countries that insisted on gaining access to encrypted customer data stored on the company's servers. BlackBerry argued that it did not possess the encryption keys and thus could not provide access to the data.