Apple: The U.S. Congress, not the courts, must decide iPhone access fight

“Apple Inc. will tell a federal judge this week in legal papers that its fight with the FBI over accessing a locked and encrypted iPhone should be kicked to Congress, rather than decided by courts,” Tami Abdollah reports for The Associated Press. “Apple’s effort would move the contentious policy debate between digital privacy rights and national security interests to Congress, where Apple — one of the world’s most respected technology companies — wields considerably more influence. Apple spent nearly $5 million lobbying Congress last year, mostly on tax and copyright issues. Key lawmakers have been openly divided about whether the government’s demands in the case go too far.”

“A lead attorney for Apple, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., previewed for the AP some of the company’s upcoming arguments in the case.,” Abdollah reports. “‘The government is really seeking to push the courts to do what they haven’t been able to persuade Congress to do,’ Boutrous said in an AP interview. ‘That’s to give it more broad, sweeping authority to help the Department of Justice hack into devices, to have a backdoor into devices, and the law simply does not provide that authority.'”

“The White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, this week disputed that Congress should settle the issue and called the government’s request narrow. Earnest said the magistrate judge ‘came down in favor of our law enforcement’ after evaluating arguments by Apple and the FBI,” Abdollah reports. “‘Sending complicated things to Congress is often not the surest way to get a quick answer,’ Earnest said. ‘In fact, even asking some of the most basic questions of Congress sometimes does not ensure a quick answer.'”

“The U.S. has used the All Writs Act at least three times — most recently in 1980 — to compel a phone company to provide a list of dialed numbers, but in those cases the technology and tools already existed, said Jennifer Granick, an attorney and director of civil liberties and the Stanford Center for Internet and Society,” Abdollah reports. “‘This is a terrorism investigation that’s solved. We know who did it,’ Granick said. ‘What happens so often is we do something that’s justified for terrorism, but it’s going to get used in regular, run-of-the-mill cases.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One of the main aims of Islamic terrorism is to erode the freedoms of U.S. citizens, thereby implicitly, if not explicitly, destroying the U.S. as we know it.

If you back the U.S. government in this case, then you back the terrorists.

Apple’s fight with U.S. could speed development of devices impervious to government intrusion – February 24, 2016
Apple to argue that FBI court order violates its free-speech rights – February 24, 2016
Apple, the U.S. government, and security – February 24, 2016
Congressman Ted Lieu asks FBI to drop demand that Apple hack iPhones – February 23, 2016
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 we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

    And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.

    This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
    — Ronald Reagan, “A Time For Choosing,” October 27, 1964

    1. I am angrily against the government’s stand in this matter, but First 2014, you are so full of utter bullshit. There are at least 50 countries in the world where the citizens enjoy legal or constitutional freedoms equal or greater than Americans (and another 100 that are nearly so). Moreover, the vast majority of those countries don’t spend billions of dollars on warrantless wiretapping and other means of data collection, and don’t invoke 225 year old laws to force their corporations to do something immoral against their wills. And for what it is worth, we got set on this path by corrupt Republican administrations like Nixon’s, and incompetent ones like Bush Jr.

      1. Whoa, Ralphy! Get your tongue off the frozen flagpole, get back on your meds, and get off the partisan bandwagon! This is NOT a partisan issue. You want to blame Republicans for all this, well, that’s your prerogative. But you don’t have much credibility when Obama’s own White House spokesman endorses the FBI position.

        All “First” did was quote Ronald Reagan from 1964. They were good words. “First” didn’t say anything else that could be considered provocative on this post. You, on the other hand…

  2. Oh I think Apple will decide iPhone access fight. If push comes to shove Apple can move it’s headquarters to the free and civilized world and deliver a new brand of iphone to their country of origin, with more back doors than swiss cheese and a pass code that allows three letters to be entered for the FBI, CIA, NSA, STU, PID.

    That way they can have their freedumb phones while the free and civilized world enjoys the iphone the way it was meant to me.

  3. It’s difficult to imagine the Congress we have being functional enough to make this decision. Vote, and maybe the next Congress will be better. In any case, I agree with Josh Earnest, sending this to Congress won’t lead to a quick resolution. That’s exactly the point. This is not something to be decided by knee jerk reactions or arguments before judges who don’t understand the actual problem. The representatives of the people are the ones to address the issue, in a careful and deliberate manner. Let’s not rush an answer. It’s very likely to be the wrong answer if we do.

  4. Apple will simply up the encryption function in the next phones and iOS software to the point where Apple is no longer able to recover ANYTHING in the phone. EVER!!! Not to mention the continuing app goldmine in encryption apps.

    So da GuBbeRmiNT will play their games and beacause of their RAMPANT misconduct the last 10 YEARS they willlllllll LOOOOSE!!!

  5. neither the court or the congress.
    Apple made a device that not even apple can decrypt, so what the government is asking is for apple to invent something they don’t know how to make.
    You can’t just order NASA to invent an antigravity spaceship, or the US army to create an infinite amo gun. Same here. If the government wants apple to invent something, they should give apple public funding for the research.

  6. NO, this is NOT something for the Congress to decide. It’s something that the states have already decided, when they ratified the first, fourth, and fifth amendments to the constitution.


  7. It’s just Apple’s lousy bad luck that of all the smartphones there are in the U.S. the terrorists had to be using some iPhone. I guess the iPhone will forever get the rap of being the “terrorist smartphone of choice.” How come the terrorists didn’t use the method of the drug lords of having disposable phones which are used a few times and then thrown away. I had always thought POTUS used a BlackBerry because of their great security. Now that Apple has a smartphone with decent security, they’re trying to make it less secure. Nothing ever seems to work out well for Apple. This turns out as another good reason for potential investors to avoid buying Apple stock. Why buy stock in a company who protects terrorism could easily be seen as a reason to avoid Apple.

    I’m still surprised how many people are siding with the intelligence agencies of opening up smartphones to being hackable to whoever orders it to be done. I’m sure there must be a lot of leaks in those agencies and likely the iPhone hack, if provided, will quickly find its way into private hands. Apple seems to be a bigger target than the gun companies whose weapons are always being used to kill people. Apple is such an easy target to anyone who wants to take the company down. All that wealth is doing nothing for Apple. Apple must have really made a lot of enemies in the U.S. for this to happen. After seeing Will Smith/Gene Hackman’s Enemy of the State movie years ago, this case really is sort of scary.

    Do all lock companies give passkeys/tumbler codes to intelligence agencies just in case they need them to get into some residence or bank vault to find some information? It just seems so odd to ask for something that would seem to be a weakening of privacy.

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