Apple asked to provide iPhone evidence in college campus attack investigation


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Apple is one of the tech companies named in petition.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is among the parties named in a notice issued by the Delhi High Court, regarding evidence concerning a recent assault on a campus at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Apple is being asked to hand over user data that may include messages, pictures, video, and more. In other words, this sounds like another potential privacy headache for Apple.

The incident in question took place at JNU’s New Delhi on January 5. A group of people wearing masks entered the campus and attacked students and teachers with sticks and rods. The incident lasted for around three hours. The mob injured at least 34 people.

Three professors, Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood and Shukla Vinayak Sawant, have asked companies to hand over all evidence that could be used by investigators.

Alongside Apple, they are asking for WhatsApp and Google to help provide materials that may help. For instance, on WhatsApp they believe that a group titled “Unity Against Left” and “Friends of RSS” may include relevant information. So far, Delhi Police has reportedly identified more than 50 people from photos and videos which went viral on social media.

The next hearing will take place on January 14. It’s not yet clear whether tech companies will have to comply with requests.

Apple: Campus request

Apple periodically faces these challenges with its focus on strong encryption and user privacy. While Apple does help out law enforcement where it can, it has also butted heads with authorities when it comes to helping unlock phones or sharing secure information.

In India, Apple has also had its own standoff with authorities. In 2017, Apple clashed with the Indian government over an app Apple worried infringed on its privacy policies. The anti-spam Do Not Disturb app prompted concerns from Apple. This was because it allowed the Indian government to access customers’ call and text message logs. Apple eventually made a version of the app available for download through the App Store in late 2018.

Source: Indian Express