The American Civil Liberties Union says, in addition to Apple, Google has also been asked to help the U.S. government access devices during investigations. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Apple is not alone in getting government requests to unlock phones. The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, says, Google has also been asked to help the government access locked devices in investigations. ACLU Staff Attorney Esha Bhandari: (SOUNDBITE) ESHA BHANDARI, STAFF ATTORNEY, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "All of these orders that we found involved unlocking the devices through capabilities that Google possessed, but, as far as we can tell, Google complied with them. There is nothing in the publicly available information to suggest anything different. The cases are mainly tied to investigations into drug crimes, according to the ACLU, which found the data indicate these kinds of government requests have become "quite ordinary." A spokesperson for Google parent Alphabet declined to say how frequently they cooperated, or how often it has contested the orders. The ACLU report comes after the Justice Department withdrew a request for Apple's assistance in California, saying it had succeeded in unlocking an iPhone used by one of the shooters involved in a rampage in San Bernardino in December without Apple's help.