As part of their motion to vacate the court order to force the company to unlock an iPhone for the FBI, Apple argues that the U.S. Congress has already addressed these issues via law, specifically the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

From Apple’s motion to vacate:

Congress knows how to impose a duty on third parties to facilitate the government’s decryption of devices. Similarly, it knows exactly how to place limits on what the government can require of telecommunications carriers and also on manufacturers of telephone equipment and handsets. And in CALEA, Congress decided not to require electronic communication service providers, like Apple, to do what the government seeks here. Contrary to the government’s contention that CALEA is inapplicable to this dispute, Congress declared via CALEA that the government cannot dictate to providers of electronic communications services or manufacturers of telecommunications equipment any specific equipment design or software configuration.

In the section of CALEA entitled ‘Design of features and systems configurations’ … the statute says that it ‘does not authorize any law enforcement agency or officer —

(1) to require any specific design of equipment, facilities, services, features, or system configurations to be adopted by any provider of a wire or electronic communication service, any manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, or any provider of telecommunications support services.

(2) to prohibit the adoption of any equipment, facility, service, or feature by any provider of a wire or electronic communication service, any manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, or any provider of telecommunications support services.

Apple’s motion to vacate in full here.

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