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…
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hailed Apple for refusing to comply with a federal court order to unlock the iPhone used by one of the killers in the San Bernardino mass shooting.
On Tuesday, the United States District Court of California issued an order requiring Apple to assist the FBI in accessing a locked iPhone (PDF)—and not just any iPhone, but the iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The order is very clear: Build new firmware to enable the FBI to perform an unlimited, high speed brute force attack, and place that firmware on the device.
To help tech businesses of all sizes plan around these issues and implement strong practices, the ACLU of California is releasing a new edition of Privacy and Free Speech: It’s Good for Business.
This business primer(and its companion website) is packed with more than 100 real-life case studies and cutting-edge recommendations on everything from privacy policies to security planning to community speech standards. Together, the principles and examples show the business value in making privacy and free speech part of a company’s DNA.
If we are going to continue to preserve our right to free speech in the electronic age, then we need to use tools like encryption,” says Ladar Levison, founder of the Lavabit, the encrypted email service used by Edward Snowden prior to the NSA leaks.
“Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been one of the most vocal critics of the apparent misuse of money and employment quid pro quos within the agency, which sits under the umbrella of the Department of Justice. “It’s never good news when the head of an agency needs to…
“The idea that terrorists will stop using end-to-end encryption – where a message is unintelligible from when it leaves the sender until it reaches its recipient – if the US bans companies from using it is preposterous. As Johns Hopkins cryptography professor Matthew Green tweeted, “You could strangle the whole U.S. tech industry, and ISIS…