U.S. Congress likely to side with Apple vs. FBI in iPhone unlocking fight

“In the days after the attacks of Sept. 11, law enforcement and national security agencies brought Congress a lengthy list of new surveillance powers they wanted. Most ended up quickly becoming law as part of the Patriot Act,” Aaron Pressman reports for Yahoo Finance. “But a request to ban strong computer codes, or encryption technology, was left out completely.”

“It was hardly the first time — or the last — that Congress shot down legislation to ban or regulate encryption,” Pressman reports. “And that’s likely why Apple (AAPL) has been fighting to shift its court battles with the FBI and federal prosecutors to the broader legislative arena in Congress. While presidents and the executive branch often side with law enforcers, courts have been less predictable — and more importantly, Congress has continuously and repeatedly sided with tech companies.”

“The reason is that laws to weaken encryption so the FBI can crack criminals’ hidden data also put at risk the digital data and online transactions of hundreds of millions of ordinary citizens. And many industries — from technology equipment and telecommunications carriers to banking and retailing — deeply rely on strong encryption. That has created a formidable array of lobbyists and campaigners to make the case that strong encryption is a source of economic strength,” Pressman reports. “And as Tuesday’s hearing unfolded, the FBI director faced hostile questioning from most of the members who spoke, a rare show of unity among Democrats and Republicans on a commitee that is usually deeply split on partisan issues.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, Congress, not the courts — legislation, not judicial decrees — should decide this issue.

Turing Award winners advocate for encryption; back Apple vs. U.S. government overreach – March 1, 2016
Mark Cuban: Why Apple must win vs. the FBI; in the United States of America, we have rights – March 1, 2016
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch plays disinformation card in iPhone unlocking fight – March 1, 2016
The FBI’s case against Apple got kneecapped in Brooklyn: The judges rebuke couldn’t have been stronger – March 1, 2016
U.S. Magistrate Judge: The U.S. government cannot force Apple to unlock an iPhone in New York drug case – February 29, 2016
Verizon CEO McAdam supports strong encryption; Apple vs. FBI should be addressed by U.S. Congress – March 1, 2016
House Judiciary Committee members consider legal brief in support of Apple vs. U.S. government – March 1, 2016
Apple will tell Congress that strong encryption protects against terrorists – March 1, 2016
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa on Apple vs. FBI: Very scary when your government wants to know more about you – February 24, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple’s top lawyer: U.S. government order weakens security for all iPhones – February 29, 2016
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. Obamas strategy all along. If he had backed Apple, Congress would have new spying legislation on his desk by sundown. After seven years he has learned the fastest way to get Congress to do what he wants is to pretend to be against it.

    1. Much as that childish approach to a childish Congress might make some sense… WHY has the Obama administration, under the control of President Obama, consistently insisted upon breaking the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution with broad, UNwarranted surveillance of US citizens within the USA? Edward Snowden’s revelations point that out quite clearly.

      IOW: Nah.

        1. Umm. No. SOME of what Snowden revealed may have been improperly collected. But he threw the baby out with the bathwater. He endangered, if not actually cost, American lives. He compromised the security agencies’ ability to collect intel. The Bush administration was rightly criticized for not listening to the information we had regarding the attacks that turned out to be 9-11. Snowden is even worse because he limited the ability to collect the information in the first place.

      1. Derek – he was simply following what the prior administration did. After all, the people who work for the government and who advise POTUS’ advisers are the same. They don’t change when an administration changes.

        1. That’s an excellent point. But you’d (or I’d) think the President of the USA would review the policies of the bureaus under HIS control and adjust them to fit HIS leadership philosophy. In this case, seeing as Obama is a Constitutional scholar, you’d (I’d) think he’d make damned (or blessedly) sure they followed the US Constitution. Total FAIL on that account. Therefore, HE gets the blame. The buck stops there.

  2. If Apple created the unlocking version of the OS the FBI wants them to, there would be no limits to the effort to get a copy by a multitude of agents. No Apple employee, relative, loved one, child, would be safe from kidnapping or worse. Even the FBI wouldn’t be safe. In the hands of an enemy or criminal organization, the damage to the US could be unprecedented. What the FBI is asking Apple to do is INSANE.

    1. I don’t think the FBI comprehend exactly what they’re asking for. They’re great at spewing rhetoric about the situation, but the substance of what they’re asking for is the demolition of US citizen security, entirely contrary to the will and welfare of We The People. As usual, my favorite adjective for such behavior from my government is… ‘stupid’. (0_o)

      Hopefully, the Congress will see through this rubbish and uphold US citizen Fourth Amendment rights.

        1. If so, Congress will have to draft a law to amend the provisions provided by the Fourth Amendment for proper search and seizure. Currently, the law can be interpreted to make such completely encrypted devices illegal/unconstitutional.

  3. Why not just have the phone wipe itself clean and brick after 12 hours (user defined) of no contact. Legal mumbo jumbo red tape takes a lot longer than 12 hours.

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