Apple’s new lawyer, former U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, calls iPhone-unlock order a ‘Pandora’s Box’

“Apple Inc.’s newly hired outside lawyer, in his first remarks on a U.S. court order requiring the company to help unlock the iPhone of a dead terrorist, said the move could imperil the privacy of millions of people around the world,” Miles Weiss reports for Bloomberg

“Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, a partner with the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said on ABC’s ‘This Week’ program that the order would open a ‘Pandora’s box’ of privacy issues,” Weiss reports. “‘This is not just one magistrate in San Bernardino,’ said Olson, 75, whose wife died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. ‘There are hundreds of magistrates, there are hundreds of other courts.'”

“Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook posted a letter on Apple’s website last week saying that the directive would create a dangerous precedent that could ultimately require the company to build software to help governments intercept private e-mails and access private health records,” Weiss reports. “While Olson has spent most of his career at Gibson Dunn, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney general in the 1980s and was the U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush. He also served on the President’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board from 2006 to 2008. ‘The implications of this are quite serious,’ Olson said of the court order. ‘People in foreign countries are going to be very, very susceptible to invasions of their privacy if Apple can be forced to change its phone.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The day the U.S. government can force anybody to write something is the day the United States of America as we know it dies.

If this keeps up, you won’t need to build a wall. Nobody will want in.

Of course, Apple has in its power to render even these methods, should they be forced upon the company, moot with future iOS updates that protect user privacy from government overreach.

It would be nice, however, not to have to depend on a company to enforce U.S. Constitutional rights, but rather to have a government – made up of people who swear oaths to the Constitution, no less – that protects citizens’ Constitutional rights jealously instead of wiping their asses with the document daily.

Apple posts open letter: ‘Answers to your questions about Apple and security’ – February 22, 2016
Apple vs. the U.S. government: Who elected Tim Cook? – February 21, 2016
Apple could easily lock rights-trampling governments out of future iPhones – February 20, 2016
Prediction: Apple will cave to U.S. government demand to crack open iPhone, Donald Trump will get the credit – February 20, 2016
Apple: Terrorist’s Apple ID password changed in government custody, blocking access – February 19, 2016
Petition asks Obama administration to stop demanding Apple create iPhone backdoor – February 19, 2016
Newspaper editorials back Apple over U.S. government 8 to 1 – February 19, 2016
Apple likely to invoke First Amendment free-speech rights in against U.S. government backdoor demands – February 19, 2016
Donald Trump calls for Apple boycott over San Bernardino terrorist iPhone encryption – February 19, 2016
Secret memo details U.S. government’s broader strategy to crack phones – February 19, 2016
DOJ escalates war against Apple, files new motion to compel company to break into iPhone – February 19, 2016
Apple is still fighting Big Brother – February 19, 2016
Apple co-founder Woz: Steve Jobs would have fought this U.S. government overreach, too – February 19, 2016
Mother who lost son in San Bernardino terrorist attack sides with Apple against U.S. government backdoor demands – February 19, 2016
iPhones don’t kill people, people kill people – February 19, 2016
Tim Cook posts open letter opposing U.S. government demands to bypass iPhone encryption – February 17, 2016


  1. “The day the U.S. government can force anybody to write something is the day the United States of America as we know it dies.
    If this keeps up, you won’t need to build a wall. Nobody will want in.”

    Oh come on. This comment has just gone too far.

    1. I agree. I support Apple in this case, largely because I do think it would set a bad precedent with regards to what foreign governments could compel Apple and other companies to do.

      But the rhetoric is getting so hyperbolic. As important as this case is, this is not the end of the world. As for privacy rights and government, let’s face it, we already deal with compromises that the people, throughout generations, have approved of in the name of security.

      I cannot imagine anything more intrusive than a government security agent being able to come into my home; yet they can do just that with a search warrant and it is commonly accepted, and rightfully so. The government for decades could wiretap your phone with a search warrant, and no on cries out.

      So let’s get off of our high horse and realize that this is yet another case where we work through a complex issue to arrive at a stance that society can agree to live with. There is usually a trade off between security and privacy; the question is where we draw the line. Same as it ever was.

  2. We’re already forced to buy health insurance, not to mention subjecting ourselves to invasive searches at airports, and hand over close to half of our income in taxes. It’s important for Apple to fight this, but it’s not the issue of our lifetimes. If it were Samsung instead of Apple being forced to do this I think people would be far less interested.

    The government as we know it changed generations ago. Whether or not Apple is forced to comply, hundreds of millions of people will still want to come here. Privacy is just one area that the government needs to be pushed back on.

    Assuming Apple holds the line I hope people don’t just mindlessly return to trusting the government because they are promised free healthcare, or college tuition or any other goodies that politicians have promised forever.

    1. “If it were Samsung instead of Apple being forced to do this I think people would be far less interested”

      People of discern aren’t interested in anything this low life company does or produces.

  3. Your comment against MDN’s take is so wrong and has gone too far imo. If Ted Olson has maintained objectivity even though he lost his wife on 911, I suppose his comments have gone too far as well. Perhaps you should be in another country called “China” and experience their constitutional laws; that is if they have any “for the people.” Guess you don’t like Ben Franklin either.

    1. We don’t know what Apple had to do with the Chinese Government to access that market. We do know many many other industries handed over much of their IP as a requirement for access. While all this plays out on the public stage, none of what was done in China has seen the light of day yet.

  4. I’m just a little distressed that no one has mentioned that while in the hands of the government, the iPhone in question had its password changed. This tells me that they had access to the phone. You can’t change the password without having access to the phone in the first place. This is a larger can of worms than we know about. I have to side with Mr. Cook in this matter. It looks like a ploy to be able to gain access to anyone’s iPhone whenever they want.

    1. It was the iCloud password, not the iPhone’s passcode. Still a cock up though, either through stupidity or maliciously to prevent one of Apple’s suggested workarounds from happening

  5. The Cringely take on this is the one I find most interesting. This has all blown up in the very week that the balance on the SCOTUS was drastically altered by the death of Justice Scalia.

    “Cringely” opines that the Justice Department might be trying to force the issue and get it before the SCOTUS in order to get a privacy favourable ruling.

  6. MDN is showing no creativity is this matter which is really dissapointing. Meta-data collection is an established precedent for phone calls. Email and text msg address meta-data cannot be ignored any longer. Apple is on the wrong side for the limited type of data needed to track accomplices to a crime.

  7. I love your comment MDN: “The day the U.S. government can force anybody to write something is the day the United States of America as we know it dies.”

    I regret that your country is dead man walking but haven’t you wondered why the zombie movies are so popular these days.

    Regarding your comment “If this keeps up, you won’t need to build a wall. Nobody will want in.” It’s becoming that way for sure, but the other issue it keeping you in, you’ll still need a wall for that. I’m sure the people of the free and civilized world will be happy to pay for it. Heck they’ll even decorate with feathers, so it can be called the feathered wall and you can stomp your chest saying it represent the supreme dominance of the bald eagle on one side of the wall while the feathers on the other side of the wall will represent characteristics normally attributed to chickens.

    Let’s see what happens if and when Pandora’s Box is open. I sure hope this guy is a good lawyer, not that the law stops this government from doing what it wants.

    Is there anyone else here feel this is so deja vu from the Nazis? Just asking.

      1. Thanks for your post, I have to agree with your observation. I think I’ve admired a few of your other posts. I’m glad people are talking about it, might translate into some action.

        Mind you I’m an outsider in all of this, but in light of what has happened in the post second 9-11 fiasco and what Mr. Assange and Mr. Snowden have revealed about this country I think it’s fair game that humans speak out against this as well.

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