Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Apple

In a situation that greatly resembles the aftermath of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, the Justice Department wants access to encrypted iPhones tied to the Pensacola, Fla. Naval Air Station shooting. Apple, for its part, is strongly hinting it will challenge a demand to do so.

Why it matters: The San Bernardino standoff ended without a legal determination when the FBI withdrew its request. Whether law enforcement has the right to access encrypted data on smartphones remains unsettled and is one of the most hotly debated issues in tech, with no clear middle ground.

  • Apple will, with a court order, provide law enforcement with data on its servers, including data backed up from iPhones.
  • However, in the past the company has refused requests to access encrypted data on the phone, which could be accomplished only through rewriting its software, such as to allow an unlimited amount of guesses at a user's passcode.
  • With its statement Monday, Apple is suggesting it will take a similar stance here

Flashback: In the San Bernardino case, Apple challenged the FBI under similar circumstances. The case was never resolved legally, and ended when the FBI withdrew its request after the agency had found another way into the phone.

What they're saying: Attorney General William Barr called for tech companies to provide the government with broader access to encrypted devices. Barr said, per the New York Times, that Apple has provided no "substantial assistance."

  • “We don’t want to get into a world where we have to spend months and even years exhausting efforts when lives are in the balance,” Barr said, according the Times. “We should be able to get in when we have a warrant that establishes that criminal activity is underway.”

Apple, for its part, said "we reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation."

  • "Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough and are ongoing," the company said in a statement to Axios. "Within hours of the FBI’s first request on December 6, we produced a wide variety of information associated with the investigation. From December 7 through the 14th, we received six additional legal requests and in response provided information including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts."
  • A request for information on a second iPhone came a month later, Apple said.

A Department of Justice representative was not immediately available for further comment.

Go deeper: Distrust of tech could be encryption's Achilles heel

Go deeper

6 mins ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.