Apple digs in for long fight against U.S. government overreach: ‘There is no middle ground’

“Ted Olson didn’t say exactly what he wants Congress to do about U.S. efforts to enlist Apple Inc. in cracking criminals’ encrypted iPhones, but he made one thing clear: Apple doesn’t work for the government,” Christie Smythe and Todd Shields report for Bloomberg. “‘There isn’t a middle ground that I know of’ to force Apple to ‘redesign its iPhone,’ Olson, a lawyer for the company, told Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang in an interview Wednesday morning. ‘The Constitution does not allow the government to conscript private companies to invent products or to change the products that they have invented.'”

“Olson said that Congress should act to clarify a technology company’s responsibilities to law enforcement in such circumstances, and that piecemeal decisions by the courts will only lead to a muddle” Smythe and Shields report. “He challenged a proposal by U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch that the judiciary weigh each case one at a time, warning that ‘you might have one court going one way and another court going another way.'””

“‘Do we let one company decide this issue for all of us?’ Lynch had told Chang on Tuesday at the RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco. ‘Do we want one company to say this is how investigations are going to be conducted and no other way?'” Smythe and Shields report. “Olson answered that question in Wednesday’s interview: No, not one company, but one legislature. ‘Congress needs to consider what technological resources exist, what can be done by the government without conscripting private citizens to change the products that they make,’ he said, calling for the body to ‘do its job’ and adding: ‘Let’s have this debate.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Judging by the questions she poses, we’re left to conclude that either Loretta Lynch is a really bad obfuscator or she just isn’t that bright.

As we wrote last month:

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.

ACLU, other privacy groups urge U.S. judge to support Apple vs. U.S. government in iPhone case – March 2, 2016
Apple scored the knockout punch against FBI in House Judiciary Committee hearing – March 2, 2016
Within an hour of Malaysia Flight 370 disappearing, Apple was working with officials to locate it – March 2, 2016
John McAfee reveals how the FBI can unlock an iPhone in 30 minutes – March 2, 2016
Can the FBI force a company to break into its own products? No, says U.S. Magistrate – March 2, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Obama administration set to expand sharing of data that N.S.A. intercepts – February 28, 2016
Apple’s fight with U.S. could speed development of devices impervious to government intrusion – February 24, 2016
Petition asks Obama administration to stop demanding Apple create iPhone backdoor – February 19, 2016
Obama administration claims FBI is not asking Apple for a ‘backdoor’ to the iPhone – February 18, 2016
Obama administration wants access to smartphones – December 15, 2015
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
Obama’s secret attempt to ban cellphone unlocking, while claiming to support it – November 19, 2013


  1. “‘Do we let one company decide this issue for all of us?’ Lynch had told Chang on Tuesday at the RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco.”

    Of course not. Which is why Apple isn’t saying they will do what the FBI wants, because if they did every other company would be forced to toe the line. What Apple want is for proper democratic processes to decide the issue for Americans. Not the conniving of an unelected security agency.

  2. Just musing here but if this is true: “The Constitution does not allow the government to conscript private companies to invent products or to change the products that they have invented.” can the government conscript private companies to not make products.

    For example there are all sorts of standards out there that must be followed say to electronic devices, houses, cars. I’m sure a car company could develop an engine that would not pass a current emissions test but they would not be allowed to sell it.

    Knowing that government it would not surprise me if they just said to Apple, “you can make encryption but it has to reach our standards.” That would be game over.

    The other scenario is the usual fare. I mean that government can conscript private individuals to invent product, change the products that they have invented along with being able to kill other people, as long as they are from other countries, most of the time anyway. It’s called the draft and it’s used at a time of war, which is roughly 80% of that country’s history so the odds are good that the government could draft or conscript a private company to do what the government wants, hey they just have to make a law about it and it will make is suddenly OK. That’s they way they’ve been skirting around civil behavior for quite some time now.

      1. I’ve been perusing that aspect of war production to see if there could be anything related, please remember I’m not from there so it’s just speculation on my part.

        I found a couple of good starting points I think, one being the “Defense Production Act” and the “War Production Board” (WPB).

        From Wikipedia: “The WPB directed conversion of industries from peacetime work to war needs, allocated scarce materials, established priorities in the distribution of materials and services, and prohibited nonessential production. It rationed such commodities as gasoline, heating oil, metals, rubber, paper and plastics.

        The Act contains three major sections. The first authorizes the President to require businesses to sign contracts or fulfill orders deemed necessary for national defense. The second authorizes the President to establish mechanisms (such as regulations, orders or agencies) to allocate materials, services and facilities to promote national defense. The third section authorizes the President to control the civilian economy so that scarce and/or critical materials necessary to the national defense effort are available for defense needs.

        From this aspect this country merely has to state that it is at war, which is pretty well always is, and direct the conversion of any industry to its war needs. That government needs access to iphones for the war effort, do it or Apple iphones will get tossed in the nonessential category and will be prohibited or along with the act, keep critical materials necessary for the war effort.

        Just speculation of course, i know there will be people looking at every slant possible to open up Apple’s encryption.

        1. I don’t see the second 9-11, the one one where the buildings trade centers were destroyed to be an act of war by one nation on another, rather that of an Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda headed by Bin Laden. He was the one to go after, there was no war required for that.

          Now for all the crap Obama gets I do have to say, as an outsider that it was finally a relief to get this guy. Certainly he was not brought to justice but under the circumstances I have no qualms about how he was finally dealt with. Thing is that he was hiding in a sort of ally country, not Iraq, and and Saudi Arabia.

    1. You can make a car that will not pass emissions tests, they are called “off road” or “race” cars….. still for sale on the open market.. so can you buy devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic ones, as long as you do not sell them together with the weapons

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