Congressman Ted Lieu asks FBI to drop demand that Apple hack iPhones

“Congressman Ted Lieu of California has asked the FBI to drop its legal attack on Apple,” Jose Pagliery reports for CNN. “In a formal letter to FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, the congressman said the FBI is trying to use federal courts to seek an authority it doesn’t have: pressuring an American company to weaken the security of its technology. ‘We should all take a deep breath and talk to each other, rather than use a lawsuit to circumvent the critical and necessary policy discussions,’ Lieu wrote.”

“‘The profound issues at stake should not be decided, as you state, by either corporations or the FBI,’ he wrote. ‘Let Congress, stakeholders, and the American people debate and resolve these difficult issues, not unelected judges based on conflicting interpretations of a law passed 87 years before Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone,'” Pagliery reports. “Congress is currently considering various proposals on secure technology that can’t be hacked or spied on. Lieu’s own bill, the Encrypt Act, would prevent the government from mandating weaker security. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is working with Sen. Richard Burr on legislation that would require companies to work with law enforcement in all cases.”

“Lieu told CNNMoney that only Congress can decide whether Apple should have to build a backdoor for the iPhone,” Pagliery reports. “‘The FBI doesn’t have the statutory authority to get that evidence,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Who wants to bet that U.S. Magistrate Judge, Sheri Pym has no earthly idea what the hell she approved?

Since the chance of the FBI taking Congressman Lieu’s advice is approximately 0%, we can’t wait for the appeal!

In the fight to hack iPhones, the U.S. government has more to lose than Apple – February 23, 2016
Here are the 12 other cases where the U.S. government has demanded Apple help it hack into iPhones – February 23, 2016
John McAfee blasts FBI for ‘illiterate’ order to create Apple iPhone backdoor – February 23, 2016
Some family members of San Bernardino victims back U.S. government – February 23, 2016
Apple supporters to rally worldwide today against U.S. government demand to unlock iPhone – February 23, 2016
U.S. government seeks to force Apple to extract data from a dozen more iPhones – February 23, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: They’d have to cart us out in a box before we’d create a backdoor – February 22, 2016
Tim Cook’s memo to Apple employees: ‘This case is about more than a single phone’ – February 22, 2016
Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone – February 17, 2016


    1. If Al Gore spoke up against requiring Apple to break into their own phone, the Republicans would reflexively oppose him. That’s how the GOP rolls these days. Anything done by anyone outside of the party is deemed evil by the GOP.

  1. Unless I missed it, where are the opinions of the other smartphone vendors in all this saga? If the FBI can go after Apple they sure as hell can go after other vendors to crack open their phones.

    1. Apple accounts for around 30% of smartphone sales in the U.S. but we haven’t been told of any similar requests from the FBI to unlock any smartphones other than iPhones.

      Unless we are supposed to believe that all criminals use iPhones and that absolutely none of them use anything else, then it’s pretty obvious that the FBI already has access to all the other smartphones. That could be done either by independently exploiting a vulnerability within the operating system, which could be done without the manufacturer’s knowledge, alternatively it could be achieved via a back door inserted at the FBI’s behest and with the co-operation of the manufacturer.

      If a manufacturer is unaware of any back door and believes that their system is secure, you would think that they would support Apple against the FBI’s plans as otherwise they would be next in line. On the other hand, if a manufacturer had conspired with the FBI to insert a back door in their system, they would obviously want Apple to be forced to do the same.

      I think that their lack of support for Apple’s position speaks volumes.

  2. MDN: “Who wants to bet that U.S. Magistrate Judge, Sheri Pym has no earthly idea what the hell she approved?”

    Of course she does not. The U.S. Courts (especially the lower courts) have absolutely nothing to do with right or wrong, ethical behavior or non ethical behavior, Public Good or anything of the sort. They are 100% about the legal system and the legal structure.

    Pym read the filings, listened to the arguments from each side and decided based upon her understanding of the LAW and how she believes the law applies to this case. That’s all. In her estimation the FBI has LEGAL standing to force Apple to make and install a new variant of iOS. She pretty much could not care if such actions are 100% benign or if they cause the end of the world within minutes of Apple doing so.

    Both Apple and the FBI have many, many non law related reasons for pursuing this case, but in front of these judges the lawyers argue the law.

  3. This is such crap… the Police can hire a few nerds to hack the iPhone and Apple doesn’t need to know about it. And the FBI can stop bothering Apple with backdoors – hence Apple can still remain as a very very secure device. Nothing is unhackable and Apple knows that – Apple just doesn’t wish to become more vulnerable to hacks by opening a poop hole – and for good reasons.

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