The Craziest Line In Apple's Motion To Throw Out The iPhone Case

The Craziest Line in Apple's Motion to Throw Out the iPhone Case

Apple just took its next swipe in the fight over unlocking a terrorist's iPhone: a court order to vacate. The company is invoking the First and Fifth Amendments to argue that the court order it received to create a back door for the device is unconstitutional. The motion is embedded below. As you may have expected, Apple did not mince its words in explaining the catastrophic consequences of giving the government such sweeping powers. Less than a day after Tim Cook likened the back door to a "software equivalent of cancer" on US national television, the company's lawyers explained in stark terms how the government's request would "impose an unprecedented and oppressive burden on Apple and the citizens who use the iPhone". Check out this analogy -- we've added emphasis:

For example, under the same legal theories advocated by the government here, the government could argue that it should be permitted to force citizens to do all manner of things "necessary" to assist it in enforcing the laws, like compelling a pharmaceutical company against its will to produce drugs needed to carry out a lethal injection in furtherance of a lawfully issued death warrant, or requiring a journalist to plant a false story in order to help lure out a fugitive, or forcing a software company to insert malicious code in its auto- update process that makes it easier for the government to conduct court-ordered surveillance.

Of course, that third example is essentially what the government is doing. While the current case deals applies to an iPhone 5C owned by the San Bernardino shooter, the FBI has made at least a dozen other similar requests. As Apple and other security experts have explained time and time again, it's impossible to create a back door for a single device. If forced to build the software, Apple would make every iPhone vulnerable to government intrusion.

"This is not a case about one isolated iPhone," the motion reads. "No court has ever authorised what the government now seeks, no law supports such unlimited and sweeping use of the judicial process, and the Constitution forbids it."

Why would we want to start now?

[WSJ, Re/code]

Read the full motion below:



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    is there no way that apple can send one of their own techs in with a program to crack that specific iphone, and not actually give anyone outside of apple the tech to crack into iphones, im all for them not wanting to provide a backdoor to a third party, but arent they being overly stubborn about this.

    im worried itll backfire in their faces, and instead of having the option to crack it themselves they will have to by court order provide a back door to their security systems.

      It solves nothing. The next time they want a phone cracked, and every time after that, they'll ask for the same thing and point to this first time as a precedent.

      And that's the real problem. Apple has to dig its heels in, or it sets a precedent for all future cases like this (and not just for Apple products). It's only a matter of time before companies are expected to comply further and further.

        *facepalm* i blame friday for my stuff ups haha. i actually had this discussion with my wife last night. except the roles were reversed.

      I'm actually keen for US to screw themselves over. Once created, China and Russia will hack Apple to get a copy. Once in their hands, ALL US citizens that hold an apple phone will be easily hacked, imagine all the Government or partners of government, or others who use an Apple phone. Lockheed, Boeing, even the US senators themselves, their families. Even if they use an "official" phone that may not be apple, a lot of them would have families that use Apple. Think of all the things China and Russia can do with that, extortion, Espionage, Fraud, list is endless.

      And you know what, US won't know until it's too late. No one is tracking every iPhone if they are being hacked. They can certainly track servers, but not every independent device floating around. And I would think those who want to do something bad, will somehow devise a way in which the same would be applied to Android phones, i.e. get a terrorist to attack, and have an encrypted Android, and have the US govt request Google (Alphabet) to create a backdoor because of 'precedence'.

      US government think this is a once off, and that people will do the right thing. But the threat aren't US people doing the right thing, the threat is other countries who don't have to play by the rules. China didn't steal blueprints to military Jets and Choppers because they play by the rules, they did it because they can.

      They ALREADY have a court order requiring them to provide a back door. They are defying that order because the FBI knows that Apple could just as easily move out of the USA completely to get them out of the jurisdiction of said order

      think of it this way..... if every door in Australia use the same type of lock from the same company. How would you feel if the government asks the manufacturer to create a device that can bypass the locking mechanism and potentially open every single door in Australia. Note, I am not talking about lockpicking or duplicating keys here, I am talking a device that can break every single locks ever created by the manfacturer.

      It's not about that specific phone but, as much as the FBI is trying to paint it as that so they can build a precedent that will then be referred to in future cases. The FBI has asked Apple to unlock an additional 12 phones and I believe they've said they have about 170 in their possession that they can't get into.

      The FBI staff heading this have been asking for a back door for over a year, well before the attacks involving this phone even took place. The reason it's news now is this case has a powerful story that resonates with the public the the favour of the FBI and it's a good one therefore to use to lead the charge.

      Also even if Apple was to do the work, what's to say they won't continue asking for the back door? Many people in positions of power have been asking for it already, including the FBI, so while an Apple controlled process works for them short term it won't stop them requesting their own access long term. They'll use this precedence to help argue that point and likely state matters of national security shouldn't go through a tech company and therefore state they need that backdoor access for themselves. The precedence set by unlocking a single device will aid the FBI in arguing for extended access, where a ruling in Apples favour goes a long way to ruling out any back doors in any form being required.

      Last edited 26/02/16 1:13 pm

    They don't want the precedent to be set.
    They are fighting so hard as if they loose this, they will find it very hard to not be forced to do it in the future.
    The DOJ is already licking their lips at the ability to have phones unlocked if apple looses

    The FBI need to be very careful about the chain of custody of the phone. Any external actions on the phone can be used to discredit it as evidence. Better to have software provided than turn the phone over to Apple.

    If Apple think the FBI's over-reaching, then Apple are taking it to extremes with those examples.
    IMO, it's not Apple's place to come up with "what if" scenarios as excuses for non-compliance with a lawful request.
    Apple's arguments may have merits, but the place and time to raise them/have them debated isn't when they've had a court order thrown their way.

      They have a right to appeal the court order, like any judicial process. That's what they're doing.

        Indeed they do! It'll be interesting to watch how it develops, certainly.

      Apple's argument is that the request isn't lawful. They've cooperated with the government right up until this point, and they think this request is one step too far.

    If this sets a precedent in the U.S, what's stopping any foreign government also requesting from Apple the same backdoor as the FBI for other criminal cases in their country of sale? It's potentially a pandora's box... I could envisage the Chinese government also applying the same government pressure on Apple to spy on government dissidents in China for example. It's mind boggling that the FBI have not balanced the international repercussions this type of request could do to privacy for all global citizens. Its clear to me now why people like Edward Snowden have outed these spy agencies

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