“The Justice Department is turning to a 225-year-old law to tackle a very modern problem: password-protected cellphones,” Danny Yadron reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Prosecutors last month persuaded a federal magistrate in Manhattan to order an unnamed phone maker to provide ‘reasonable technical assistance’ to unlock a password-protected phone that could contain evidence in a credit-card-fraud case, according to court filings. The court had approved a search warrant for the phone three weeks earlier. The phone maker, its operating system and why the government has not been able to unlock it remain under seal. The little-noticed case could offer hints for the government’s strategy to counter new encryption features from Apple Inc. and Google Inc., say privacy advocates and people familiar with such cases say.”

“‘It’s part of what I think is going to be the next biggest fight that we see on surveillance as everyone starts to implement encryption,’ said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society,” Yadron reports. “Pointing to the phrase ‘technical assistance’ in the order, she asked, ‘Does this mean you have to do something to your product to make it surveillance friendly?'”

“If an iPhone user sets a password for the device, the data is encrypted when the phone is locked. The only way to decrypt it – even if police ship it to Apple – is to know the password, which Apple says it doesn’t record,” Yadron reports. “Albert Gidari, a partner at Perkins Coie LLP who has worked with technology firms on surveillance matters, questioned the government’s approach. ‘There’s danger in this. How far do you have to go’ to assist the government, he asked.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple can’t unlock a device due to the way its designed, then they can’t unlock it. Case closed. But can the U.S. government force Apple to design devices that can be unlocked?

United States Constitution, Amendment IV:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

Related article:
DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying – November 19, 2014