After iPhone unlocking, Americans should still expect privacy, says White House

The American people should "absolutely" still have confidence in their personal privacy despite the government's success in unlocking an Apple iPhone belonging to a shooter in the San Bernardino, California, killings, the White House said on Wednesday.

The American people should "absolutely" still have confidence in their personal privacy despite the government's success in unlocking an Apple iPhone belonging to a shooter in the San Bernardino, California, killings, the White House said on Wednesday.

"The reason they should be confident in that privacy is because there are laws on the books that are assiduously followed ... that protect the privacy of the American people," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. He added that privacy will be ensured "even as we undertake the necessary actions to protect our national security."

The FBI may be allowed to withhold information about how it broke into an iPhone belonging to a gunman in the December San Bernardino shootings, despite a US government policy of disclosing technology security flaws discovered by federal agencies.

Under the U.S. vulnerabilities equities process, the government is supposed to err in favor of disclosing security issues so companies can devise fixes to protect data. The policy has exceptions for law enforcement, and there are no hard rules about when and how it must be applied.

Apple has said it would like the government to share how it cracked the iPhone security protections. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has been frustrated by its inability to access data on encrypted phones belonging to criminal suspects, might prefer to keep secret the technique it used to gain access to gunman Syed Farook’s phone.

With inputs from Reuters

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