How Apple will fight the DOJ in iPhone backdoor case: U.S. government’s position stands on 227 year old law

“Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday evening said the US government’s legal position on encryption backdoors was setting ‘a dangerous precedent,'” Cyrus Farivar and David Kravets report for Ars Technica. “That’s because, just a few hours prior, a federal judge agreed with the US Justice Department that a 1789 law compelled Apple to alter an iPhone’s firmware that would allow the authorities to use a brute-force attack on an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters.”

“Cook said Apple will fight the Riverside, California, magistrate judge’s orders, calling it an ‘unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority,'” Farivar and Kravets report. “The act has certainly been used to expand the government’s surveillance reach. Whether it ultimately will in the iPhone case is an open question likely to be resolved by the Supreme Court.”

“The Apple case has drawn attention from the nation’s industry leaders, privacy groups, policymakers, and would-be policymakers,” Farivar and Kravets report. “Apple has three more business days to issue a formal court response.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

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

USA Today alters logo to support Apple in fight against U.S. government overreach – February 18, 2016
Obama administration claims FBI is not asking Apple for a ‘backdoor’ to the iPhone – February 18, 2016
Privacy activists plan rallies across U.S. to support Apple in battle against U.S. government on February 23rd – February 18, 2016
Google CEO Sundar Pichai wishy-washy on Apple’s fight against U.S. government backdoor demands – February 18, 2016
Why Apple is fighting back against U.S. federal government demands for iPhone access – February 17, 2016
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


  1. Govt: Hey, you know those safes you’re making out of titanium?
    Brinks: Yeah?
    Govt: Well we think some people are hiding illegal stuff in them.
    Brinks: Well, yes that’s possible.
    Govt: Well we need to get into them. So make them out of paper.
    Brinks: If we do that than they’re not really safes anymore.
    Govt: Well you can call them anything you want just make sure they’re made of paper. Thanks 🙂
    Brinks: ?

    1. Don’t see this as the sort of case where the Court divides along Progressive/Conservative lines. And I really don’t think they divide along party lines. Should be interesting.

  2. So if we must follow a 1789 law, why is it so hard to conclude that the 1788 Second Ammendment allowing a well regulated militia to bear arms applies only to muzzle loaded single-shot muskets?

    1. If the government uses the 1979 writ to justify getting whatever they want, then every American should also get whatever they want by the authority of the Second Amendment, which, by the way, did not specify muzzle-loaded single-shot muskets. It’s more likely the authors saw the need to at least equal the force of a threat in order for one to survive, and not bring a knife to a gun fight. In fact, I believe that advance thinkers like Franklin and Jefferson had in mind phasers, cosmic-power wrist bands, omega-beam blasters, and maybe even AK’s when they used the term arms.

  3. Unfortunately, there is no way to know how the courts will rule.

    Why? Because the U.S. has a legal system and not a justice system. Right, wrong, and any form of ethical behavior are not relevant. The eventual effect that any ruling has on people or companies is not relevant.

    It all comes down to how the judges (and justices) interpret the LAW. It does not matter how right or wrong it is. It matters whether they believe the actions requested by the FBI are consistent with the law.

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