New York police officers stand outside the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue while monitoring a demonstration. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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The legal showdown between Apple Inc. and U.S. law enforcement over encryption, no matter the outcome, will likely accelerate tech company efforts to engineer safeguards against government intrusion, tech industry executives say.An Apple executive said the company would strengthen its encryption if it wins its court battle with the federal government, which last week secured a court order requiring Apple engineers to help extract data from a phone associated with the mass shootings in San Bernardino.If Apple loses the court case, the legal precedent could give the U.S. government broad authority to order companies to assist in breaking into encrypted products.It's unclear whether Apple can – or would even want to – make smartphones the company can't access. Two Apple employees familiar with the company's security strategy said the company had no such plans.Apple, Google, Facebook and other companies also have accelerated efforts to implement encryption in the wake of Snowden's disclosures about U.S. spying – including a program called PRISM that culled private data from some of the largest U.S. tech companies.
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