Another FBI Filing on the San Bernardino iPhone Case
The FBI’s reply to Apple is more of a character assassination attempt than a legal argument. It’s as if it only cares about public opinion at this point.
Although notice the threat in footnote 9 on page 22:
For the reasons discussed above, the FBI cannot itself modify the software on Farook’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature. The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers.
This should immediately remind everyone of the Lavabit case, where the FBI did ask for the site’s master key in order to get at one user. Ladar Levison commented on the similarities. He, of course, shut his service down rather than turn over the master key. A company as large as Apple does not have that option. Marcy Wheeler wrote about this in detail.
My previous three posts on this are here, here, and here, all with lots of interesting links to various writings on this case.
EDITED TO ADD:The New York Times reports that the White House might have overreached in this case.
John Oliver has a great segment on this. With a Matt Blaze cameo!
Good NPR interview with Richard Clarke.
Well, I don’t think it’s a fierce debate. I think the Justice Department and the FBI are on their own here. You know, the secretary of defense has said how important encryption is when asked about this case. The National Security Agency director and three past National Security Agency directors, a former CIA director, a former Homeland Security secretary have all said that they’re much more sympathetic with Apple in this case. You really have to understand that the FBI director is exaggerating the need for this and is trying to build it up as an emotional case, organizing the families of the victims and all of that. And it’s Jim Comey and the attorney general is letting him get away with it.
Senator Lindsay Graham is changing his views:
“It’s just not so simple,” Graham said. “I thought it was that simple.”
Steven Levy on the history angle of this story.
Benjamin Wittes on possible legislative options.
EDITED TO ADD (3/17): Apple’s latest response is pretty withering. Commentary from Susan Crawford. FBI and China are on the same side. How this fight risks the whole US tech industry.
EDITED TO ADD (3/18): Tim Cook interview. Apple engineers might refuse to help the FBI, if Apple loses the case. And I should have previously posted this letter from racial justice activists, and this more recent essay on how this affects the LGBTQ community.
EDITED TO ADD (3/21): Interesting article on the Apple/FBI tensions that led to this case.
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