Why Apple is fighting back against U.S. federal government demands for iPhone access

“We knew this was going to happen. In 2014 Apple announced that its newest system – the iOS 8 – would not permit the company to access data in an iPhone. ‘Unlike our competitors,’ reads Apple’s policy, ‘Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access [private] data,'” Melissa Caen writes for ReadWrite. “Yesterday, we heard the crash when a federal judge ordered Apple to do just that.”

“I have to hand it to the federal prosecutors, they picked the perfect case to try and force Apple’s hand,” Caen writes. “The iPhone that federal law enforcement wants access to was used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, Syed Farook. The bloodshed and violation he and his wife perpetrated remain open wounds, unable to heal because we still don’t know how or why it happened. The public desperately needs the answers that are in that phone.”

MacDailyNews Take: They do? How do you even know if there are any answers in that iPhone? It could be Al Capone’s Vault, for all anybody knows.

“Of course, Apple will file a legal opposition to the judge’s order and that if it fails, Apple will appeal the order to the Ninth Circuit, possibly all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Caen writes. “The case of Farook’s iPhone won’t be resolved any time soon. The wheels of justice turn very, very slowly. In the meantime, Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for congress to pass legislation backing Apple’s stance.”

“The implications of this case are serious for the Internet of Things,” Caen writes. “Convincing the public to trust that our personal data will not be shared or subject to a subpoena in everything from a criminal court to divorce proceedings, is a big obstacle to full adoption of new technologies. Actual big brothers are helpful and make life better. Technological Big Brothers are not. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, Apple should appeal this wrongheaded decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if need be.

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

Snowden backs Apple in fight over iPhone; blasts Google’s silence – February 17, 2016
Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone – February 17, 2016
Security firm shows how Apple could bypass iPhone security to comply with FBI request – February 17, 2016
What the Apple court order means for your smartphone privacy – February 17, 2016
EFF opposes U.S. government demand to force Apple to unlock terrorist’s iPhone – February 17, 2016
‘Who do they think they are?’ Donald Trump blasts Apple for not unlocking San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone – February 17, 2016
Tim Cook posts open letter opposing U.S. government demands to bypass iPhone encryption – February 17, 2016
Apple CEO opposes court order to help FBI unlock San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone – February 17, 2016
Apple wants judge to rule if it can be forced to unlock defendant’s iPhone – February 16, 2016
U.S. House lawmakers seek to outlaw states from banning encrypted iPhones – February 10, 2016
Obama administration wants access to smartphones – December 15, 2015
Obama administration’s calls for backdoors into encrypted communications echo Clinton-era key escrow fiasco – December 14, 2015
Donald Trump: To stop ISIS recruiting, maybe we should be talking to Bill Gates about ‘closing that Internet up in some way’ – December 8, 2015
Hillary Clinton: We need to put Silicon Valley tech firms to ‘work at disrupting ISIS’ – December 7, 2015
Apple CEO Cook: ‘You can’t have a back door that’s only for the good guys’ – November 21, 2015
Apple CEO Cook defends encryption, opposes back door for government spies – October 20, 2015
Do not let the government snoops weaken encryption – November 4, 2015
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Judge compares government request for Apple to access users’ iPhone data to execution order – October 27, 2015
U.S. judge expresses doubts over forcing Apple to unlock iPhone – October 26, 2015
Apple tells U.S. judge it can’t unlock iPhones running iOS 8 or higher – October 20, 2015
a href=”http://macdailynews.com/2015/10/20/apple-ceo-cook-defends-encryption-opposes-back-door-for-government-spies/”>Apple CEO Cook defends encryption, opposes back door for government spies – October 20, 2015
With Apple court order, activist federal judge seeks to fuel debate about data encryption – October 12, 2015
Judge declines to order Apple to disable security on device seized by U.S. government – October 10, 2015
Apple refused to give iMessages to the U.S. government – September 8, 2015
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Apple, others urge Obama to reject any proposal for smartphone backdoors – May 19, 2015
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk collection of phone data illegal – May 7, 2015
In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed – March 26, 2015
Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world – March 19, 2015


  1. Tough cases make bad law.

    We can’t one set of laws for terrorists and another set for everyone else, so if we look at a cost/benefit in this one case, we may think that personal information should be accessible to government inquiry. This leads us to trouble in the age of home security cameras, devices which monitor how we drive, phones which can record images and sound without our knowledge or consent, and Apple watches which can monitor all sorts of bio-metric activity.

    Either people need to understand that everything from their car’s computer to their thermostat and cell phone are recording their activity and may be used against them in a court of law, or we need to draw some hard lines which protect all of us, including the bad guys.

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    Ben Franklin

  2. Apple is getting free promotion from this and they are loving it.

    They are in the buisness of making profit.
    Their idiology will change depending on what brings the most profits.
    Apple is not a political institution .

    Ready for the firing squad . Or the hanging.. Or the shot in the arm… Whatever suits the dogmatic realm.

    1. This really is a feather in Apple’s cap. It bolsters their credibility vis a vis security. The F blinking BI forensic lads can’t get into the iPhone! This almost sounds like a fairy tale. Yet the phone remains secure and closed. Let’s keep it that way.

      Interesting also is the talk of taking this all the way to the Supreme Court, especially in light of the state of the Court right now. Could this provide fuel for a lame duck appointee?

  3. The public desperately needs the answers that are in that phone.

    No, they fucking well don’t. The perps are already dead, so creating a backdoor to all iPhones (and that’s exactly what the FBI wants), has no effect at all on their victims.


    1. But may have an effect on future victens..
      Again this is about unlocking a specific phone used by a know Terrorist ..
      Its not about permenant access to all phone communications.

      Plus.. Did u have encription or any of this public outcries about your landline based phones at home. …20 years ago. Or so ? ..
      government wants tap.. They get a permission and tap.. Simple..
      Govenment wants to search your home , with good reason ofcourse … They get a court order and search your house… The most privet place to anyone.
      Plus our homes are not absolutely and perfectly intruder safe… Its just a reality and we accept it as part of life or we would all live in forts with moats and aligators in the moat and drawbridges….. Modt of us dont .
      We are still here as a nation .

      1. If Apple creates a way to access a single phone, then any phone can be accessed. That is the point. If a back door exists, criminals will exploit it, and bad guys will avoid it by using some other encryption not under the jurisdiction of the US government.

    2. The FBI et al. knew about the SB shooters, but did NOTHING to prevent it (just like the Boston Bombers). Was that ineptitude, or corruption?

      I see no evidence that building in a backdoor would have prevented this disaster. They had a lot of public info and didn’t act on it, so they’re either overloaded with info, or for some reason not acting on it. A backdoor in no sense seems likely to fix what appears to be wrong.

  4. So..why do they need the phone? Wouldn’t it be easier to gain access to the iCloud account? There should be a ton of stuff there, including messages..and possibly phone backups. If they have access to iCloud, they could even get a clean iPhone and restore it from a perps iCloud backup. Am I wrong here? What is on the phone that won’t be on iCloud (or available once accessible).

    1. I’m talking about all the stuff in iCloud. Sign into any Mac with your iCloud account, and you have messages, contacts, Safari history, and anything else that was “in the cloud.”

      1. Only if you choose to keep that stuff in the cloud. Many people don’t, precisely so that it won’t be accessible. If you trust iCloud or any other online service to keep your confidential data, you shouldn’t be worried about somebody physically hacking your phone. You apparently aren’t seriously concerned about confidentiality.

  5. So when Apple creates the backdoor software, can the FBI guarantee that my granddaughter’s phone will not be accessed by the bad guys? Would the FBI then be culpable for any crimes against my family or friends because of the insistence to create vulnerability the phone? What if China wants access to the backdoor from Apple to use to abuse human rights in their country in the name “justice?”

    The history of the FBI has been mixed at best. When given absolute power, they have been shows to abuse it flagrantly.
    Access to cell phones is no substitute for good police work. 911 should have been averted, but it would not have been averted by this.

  6. I would suggest Apple incorporate a “Mission:Impossible” like timer feature (defaulting at off) so that after a certain amount of selected time has gone by and no one has logged into the iPhone it would “auto-self-destruct” all onboard data.

    And that as they say would be the end of that.

  7. Oh, dear! How will the leftists defend the Oh-blah-blah administration and concur the administration is absolutely correct in its attempt to make every iPhone susceptible to snooping?

    What do Hillary and Bernie think about this? Probably more of the same “To protect your liberties we have to redact them first.”

  8. (1) The US Courts consistently block any attempt at gun control, including limiting assault weapons which have no use in ‘sport’ but only in killing people.
    (2) The US courts argue that it is Americans’ God-given right to have the means to kill each other with such weapons (although possibly not if you are inclined to call God by his alias Allah).
    (3) When they do kill each other, yet again, the US Courts demand Apple help them cope with the consequence of their choices (1) & (2) despite this giving the precedence to end everyone else’ freedom to keep their e-lives private.
    (4) (3) is, apparently, preferable to re-visiting (1) & (2)

    As a UK respondent, I am mystified by this.

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