FBI vs Apple: A Bit Of Light Reading

Encryption is key to commerce online. Anything that weakens it is a threat to the digital economy, so the FBI vs Apple case is something that a lot of people are watching very closely.

I posted about the case on my company’s blog the other day and the case and its implications have been covered widely in the media.

The most recent development is that Apple has filed “Motion to Vacate the Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search, and Opposition to the Government’s Motion to Compel Assistance.”

Legal filings aren’t light bedtime reading, but this one explores the legal issues as well as the privacy and security implications from multiple angles and underlines why this case is so important. It’s not simply a case against Apple.

It also has some very interesting language that is worth citing:

..Apple uses encryption to protect its customers from cyber-attack and works hard to improve security with every software release because the threats are becoming more frequent and sophisticated. Beginning with iOS 8, Apple added additional security features that incorporate the passcode into the encryption system. It is these protections that the government now seeks to roll back by judicial decree.

There are two important and legitimate interests in this case: the needs of law enforcement and the privacy and personal safety interests of the public. In furtherance of its law enforcement interests, the government had the opportunity to seek amendments to existing law, to ask Congress to adopt the position it urges here. But rather than pursue new legislation, the government backed away from Congress and turned to the courts, a forum ill-suited to address the myriad competing interests, potential ramifications, and unintended consequences presented by the government’s unprecedented demand. And more importantly, by invoking “terrorism” and moving ex parte behind closed courtroom doors, the government sought to cut off debate and circumvent thoughtful analysis.

And that’s just one example.

Here’s the filing in its entirety:



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