A joint statement from Access Now, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Apple is engaged in a high-profile battle against a court order demanding it write, sign, and deploy custom computer code to defeat the security on an iPhone. As civil liberties groups committed to the freedom of thought that underpins a democratic society, this fight is our fight. It is the fight of every person who believes in a future where technology does not come at the cost of privacy or individual security and where there are reasonable safeguards on government power….
It’s not about 1 person. It’s not about 1 phone. It’s about the government being able to snoop on all people, on all phones, on all devices, on your TV, PC, even your HVAC and car. The government wants a skeleton key to unlock whatever it wants whenever it wants. This is dangerous in the extreme.
While the All Writs Act is not used every day, the act has been successfully invoked by the government to compel telephone companies to install wiretaps, for phone companies to hand over call records, and to obtain CCTV footage, handwriting exemplars, and DNA samples. It has even been cited to force a defendant to cough up his computer password.
What’s more, it has played a part in copyright piracy cases. In a forthcoming law journal article,Annemarie Bridy, a law professor at the University of Idaho, writes that “some courts granting broad preliminary orders against non-parties in ‘pirate site’ cases have cited the All Writs Act as a source of authority.”
The All Writs Act was originally part of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the Supreme Court, the lower courts, and spelled out the basic powers of the judicial branch of government. In 1990, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor described the Judiciary Act as “probably the most important and most satisfactory Act ever passed by Congress.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook declared on Wednesday that his company wouldn’t comply with a government search warrant to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardinokillers, a significant escalation in a long-running debate between technology companies and the government over access to people’s electronically-stored private information.
But in a similar case in New York last year, Apple acknowledged that it could extract such data if it wanted to. And according to prosecutors in that case, Apple has unlocked phones for authorities at least 70 times since 2008. (Apple doesn’t dispute this figure.)
“This move by the FBI could snowball around the world. Why in the world would our government want to give repressive regimes in Russia and China a blueprint for forcing American companies to create a backdoor?” Wyden told the Guardian.
“Companies should comply with warrants to the extent they are able to do so, but no company should be forced to deliberately weaken its products. In the long run, the real losers will be Americans’ online safety and security.”
“February 16, 2016 A Message to Our Customers The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around…
When misguided slips into misleading —