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Massachusetts judge orders Apple to assist FBI in unlocking iPhone

A U.S. magistrate judge in Massachusetts has ordered Apple to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation to unlock an iPhone linked to an alleged Boston gang member, according to court documents.

Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler issued the order in February but it was not publicly known until Friday when a court filing was unsealed. The order directs Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” that consists, to the extent possible, of extracting data from the device and hand it over to law enforcement.

The news comes less than 2 weeks after the FBI announced that it successfully opened an iPhone of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook without the assistance of Apple, which had been ordered to build software to break into the device, but the order set off a court battle and condemnation from tech leaders.

The FBI has not released how it was able to break into Farook’s phone, but said the method provided by an unidentified third party would only work on a small number of iPhones.

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