Apple’s top lawyer: U.S. government order weakens security for all iPhones

“The FBI’s effort to force Apple to help unlock one of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhones would weaken security for all devices, the company’s top lawyer will tell lawmakers on Tuesday,” Katie Bo Williams reports for The Hill. “‘We can all agree this is not about access to just one iPhone,’ Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell says in written testimony to be given to the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on encryption.”

“‘Should the FBI have the right to compel a company to produce a product it doesn’t already make, to the FBI’s exact specifications and for the FBI’s use?’ Sewell argues in his testimony,” Williams reports. “FBI Director James Comey, who will also testify before a separate Judiciary panel on Tuesday, argues that the request is tailored only for shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s device… But he also acknowledged that a decision in the case could be ‘instructive’ for other courts, a subtle shift from an earlier position that it was ‘not about setting a precedent.'”

“Sewell references Comey’s shift in his own testimony,” Williams reports. “‘Just last week Director Comey agreed that the FBI would likely use this precedent in other cases involving other phones,” his testimony says. “[Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance] has also said he would absolutely plan to use this on over 175 phones… Building that software tool would not affect just one iPhone. It would weaken the security for all of them.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course it would weaken security for all iPhones.

Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook can probably defy the US government all he wants and not go to jail – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook picks up where Snowden left off in privacy debate – February 29, 2016
Obama administration set to expand sharing of data that N.S.A. intercepts – February 28, 2016
If Apple loses, your home could be the next thing that’s unlocked: Access to your security cameras would be just a judge order away – February 28, 2016
The Apple vs. FBI fight is about something more basic than software and laws – February 28, 2016
Apple privacy battle with Washington looms as watershed moment – February 26, 2016
Apple’s lawyer: If we lose, it will lead to a ‘police state’ – February 26, 2016
Apple: The law already exists that protects us from U.S. government demands to hack iPhone – February 26, 2016


  1. Sorry for borroying this, but I found it appropriate!
    For all those who support the FBI answer this question:

    Would you allow the USA government to put a tracking device on the wrist of every single person on USA soil?

    The device would have to be worn 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The device would be locked on your wrist and almost impossible to take off by a regular citizen. If you take it off you can be sent to jail. It would track everywhere you go, everyone you speak to, and even record conversations. But such a device would decrease crime and probably would have stopped this recent terrorist attack in California. We should do everything to stop terrorism right? Even if it means giving up some liberty and privacy?

    Isn’t that right FBI supporters?

    1. I was thinking on the same lines

      will people who are supporting the FBI support a move by the FBI to put an ‘app’ on all phones including their own which will allow the FBI , Police etc to hack their phone PLUS allow criminal hackers to get at it (because they WILL break backdoors) to break into their family info, bank accounts, electronic passkeys etc…

  2. They should accidentally write unstoppable software to grab everything on every mobile phone then let it loose. One of the jumbotrons in Time Square might be a good output device. It could target “certain” people before working it’s way down to the peons, of course. “Oopsie. Be careful what you ask(ed) for.”

  3. Gosh what double talk:

    “We do not want a backdoor for the government to access users’ information, and we do not want a key held by the government,” Vance’s testimony reads. “We want Apple, Google, and other technology companies to maintain their ability to access data at rest on phones pursuant to a neutral judge’s court order.”

    That’s like not asking for a baked Apple pie but rather a crust filled with Apples and covered with another crust then heated whenever the judge wants.

    Yup that THUD sound you hear is the sound of the empire crumbling.

  4. Vance’s testimony sounds like the most reasonable compromise I’ve seen yet to avoid ignoring the Fourth Amendment provisions. The question should it be enacted is which company do you trust to maintain their ‘backdoor’ properly and avoid misuse.

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