There are presently thirteen iPhones that federal law enforcement would like Apple to unlock. On February 29th, 2016, a New York judge sided with Apple, and has denied the Department of Justice (DOJ) request to override the security measures of the iPhone, in a case involving Jun Feng, a drug dealer.
The DOJ brought suit against Apple using the All Writ Act of 1789 which states:
“(a) The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.
(b) An alternative writ or rule nisi may be issued by a justice or judge of a court which has jurisdiction.” https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/1651
The All Writ Act has been revived in the 21st Century, especially to address the issue of electronic devices, which is why the DOJ case has been such an important decision. If the judge were to agree with the DOJ, it would set a serious precedent against future privacy and digital data rights.
It is important to note that out of the 13 iPhones that the FBI is currently asking for Apple’s assistance, eight iPhones are running iOS 7 or earlier, which means that they vulnerable to being hacked by someone with rudimentary skills. So, why is the FBI using this law, of the United States of America, and why are they insisting on help from Apple?
I believe very seriously, that they are looking for that one case, which will set a precedence and force technology companies to comply with the government’s desire to erode privacy, using the facade of national security. Why do you think we have heard so much about the San Bernardino case, and not the drug dealer case? It is because they are playing on our fears.
While I have never been a big fan of Apple, regardless of the recent marriage with IBM, I am truly happy that Tim Cook did not acquiesce to the demands of the Obama justice department and instead fought for the right to privacy. So, thank you Apple and thank you Tim Cook.
We, as citizens of the United States of America, continue to give our rights away. Whether it is reacting to gun violence, which leads to more laws against our Second Amendment rights, or surveillance on our phones and emails, as the government looks for terrorists. In response to a case surrounding the 2012 mortgage scam, a judge ruled against a woman, telling her she had to turn over her password, as the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination, did not apply to her.
I can promise you one thing, as we are stripped of our rights, and as the very essence of our constitutional privileges continue to be violated, there will still be mortgage scams, drug dealers, terrorists and violence committed with guns. We will not be any safer and we will have paid a very high cost, our freedom.