Similar Court Ruling May Help Apple in Legal Battle With FBI

Similar Court Ruling May Help Apple in Legal Battle With FBI

Posted on Mar 8, 2016 in Blog Entry: Elections and Courts

Similar Court Ruling May Help Apple in Legal Battle With FBI

You’re no doubt aware of the case: Apple and the FBI have been sparing over access to the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, with the FBI requesting the creation of software to dodge around the iPhone’s passcode to access the shooter’s private information.

In related news, a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled in late February that the FBI could not force Apple to unlock the iPhone of a suspected drug dealer. If nothing else, that boosts public opinion in Apple’s favor.

A California judge will consider the case of the iPhone used by San Bernardino attackers, and Apple absolutely intends to cite the Brooklyn ruling in their favor.

The Brooklyn judge ruled in Apple’s favor because Congress specifically considered and rejected a bill that would require companies like Apple to make the data on a locked iPhone available to law enforcement in such cases. As the U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein puts it, “the relief the government seeks is unavailable because Congress has considered legislation that would achieve the same result but has not adopted it.”

The related Brooklyn case ruling could prove incredibly important in Apple’s case against the FBI.

Apple is also receiving good press, thanks to their current legal representation. In an interview with NPR, Ted Olson (former solicitor general during George W. Bush’s first term who is currently representing Apple in this case) argued that the iPhone was expressly designed to prevent the sort of thing the government is asking Apple to do.

“What in the law requires us to redesign the iPhone, to rewrite code, to provide an Achilles’s heel in the iPhone?” Olson said. “It was designed to protect the secrecy and privacy of individuals who use the iPhone.”

“What the government is asking Apple to do here is to redesign this particular iPhone, to take weeks of its engineers to put together a system to disable the systems that Apple put into place in the first place…They want various features to be changed so you can get around the passcode.”

Click here for more information on the case from The Verge, who wrote a very informative article about the five questions that will decide the fight.