Apple is locked in a battle with the FBI over whether or not it should create a tool to access data on a locked iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino gunmen, but as some have expected, that’s only one of many cases in which Apple is involved. The Wall Street Journal reports this evening that the Department of Justice is seeking data from at least 12 other iPhones in criminal cases.

The report, citing people familiar with the matter, says that the Justice Department is pursuing data from “about twelve” iPhones around the country. While the details of these investigations have not yet been made public, the report claims that none of them involve terrorism charges like the San Bernardino case does.

“In most of the cases, rather than challenge the orders in court, Apple simply deferred complying with them, without seeking appropriate judicial relief,’’ prosecutors in a New York drug-related case wrote.

Meanwhile, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has come out and sided with the FBI in the ongoing debate over user privacy versus national security. The Financial Times reports today that Gates believes that Apple should create a way for the government to access the data in this specific case:

“This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information. They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case,” Gates told the Financial Times.

However, Gates appears to have made this comment before the revelation that the U.S. government is seeking data from an additional 12 iPhones involved in criminal cases. The way Gates worded his opinion made it sound like he agrees with the FBI only in the San Bernardino case. Whether or not Gates’ opinion has changed with this evening’s revelation is unclear.

Apple’s battle with the FBI over national security versus user privacy began last week and has since become one of the biggest and most complex stories in tech and politics. You can view all of our extensive coverage at the links below:

  • U.S. judge orders Apple to help FBI access data on San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone 5c
  • Apple publishes letter responding to FBI iPhone unlock demand: ‘an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers’
  • Google CEO Pichai appears to side with Apple in series of vague tweets on FBI encryption battle
  • Security firm shows how Apple could bypass iPhone security to comply with FBI request
  • Opinion: How likely is Apple to succeed in resisting the FBI court order?
  • Should Apple comply with FBI request to bypass San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone? [Poll]
  • Civil rights groups and tech companies express support for Apple’s stand against the FBI
  • Opinion: Why an iPhone master key is better than a backdoor, but still too dangerous
  • Petition urges White House to support Apple in blocking government access to locked iPhones
  • Senate Intelligence Committee considering bill to penalize companies refusing to decrypt user device
  • Report: Apple to get more time to formally respond to government’s request for access to locked iPhone
  • Apple/FBI fight looks destined to go all the way to the Supreme Court as more background is revealed
  • Department of Justice files motion to force Apple to comply with FBI iPhone backdoor request
  • Apple implies FBI screwup: iPhone Apple ID password changed in govt possession, backdoor unnecessary
  • FBI explains why it changed Apple ID password in iPhone unlock case, retrieved iCloud backups up to October 19 but wants more
  • San Bernardino victims divided on iPhone issue as FBI claims not trying to set a precedent
  • Apple/FBI: Tim Cook sends memo to employees, wants government to drop All Writs Act demands, posts customer FAQ
  • Mark Zuckerberg sides w/ Apple in encryption battle as poll suggests public supports FBI

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