Apple Turns Down India’s Enforcement Directorate Request To Unlock Opposition’s iPhone

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Ahead of the General Elections in India, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the law enforcement body and also a part of the Ministry of Finance, arrested Arvind Kejriwal, one of the key figures in the opposition’s alliance — I.N.D.I.A. bloc, in connection with the alleged Delhi’s liquor policy scam. Kejriwal is also the Chief Minister of India’s capital Delhi and leads the Aam Aadmi Party, also known as Common Man’s Party or AAP. Now it turns out, that the officials have knocked on the doors of Apple for help unlocking.

Despite the pressure from authorities, Kejriwal is avoiding unlocking his iPhone. He clarified to ED that he had owned his iPhone for about a year, and he didn’t use the device while the liquor policy was being drafted in 2020-2021. Moreover, there could be several reasons behind this, including keeping the election strategy to himself. Still, the showdown between Kejriwal and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has escalated, with Apple’s denial adding another layer of complexity to the situation.

This comes from a report from The Indian Express’ Ritu Sarin, a prominent investigative journalist who has uncovered scandals such as Panama Papers, etc. She reported that Indian authorities reached out to Apple for help to unblock four phones, including Kejriwal’s personal iPhone. She further added that Apple has decided to not budge against and respect privacy, meaning no cooperation.

The arrest of Arvind Kejriwal comes at a time when India is preparing to hold the General Elections starting April 19, and Kejriwal is put behind bars till April 15. In the last few years, key figures from the Kejriwal-led party have been put behind bars in one case or the other. The opposition’s coalition, which Kejriwal and others are a part of, poses a direct challenge to the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, of the Bharatiya Janta Party, also known as BJP or Indian People’s Party.

As has always been the case with democracy, where everyone’s opinion equally matters, the supporters of Arvind Kejriwal argue that the allegations against him are politically involved. At the same time, the ED officers — as usual — say it is part of the investigation, and unlocking the devices might uncover further details and help the probe.

Apple, however, strains away from unlocking the iPhone, and the respective user’s privacy and doesn’t want to participate in the Enforcement Directorate-led probe. This shouldn’t come as surprising because Apple has largely avoided such demands, during cases such as the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, and others.

In addition, India has become one of Apple’s important markets, globally for selling to people and working with businesses. Apple has started manufacturing in India in recent years and also unveiled two Apple Stores last year, one in Mumbai and the other in Delhi.


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