Apple to DOJ: We're Not Your Hackers

Apple filed a motion today saying the Department of Justice has no right to make it hack into iPhones.

Apple argues that not only does it not even know exactly how to create the software in question, the larger issue is the bad precedent of allowing the FBI to compel it, or any other tech company, to write code against its will.

“If Apple can be forced to write code in this case to bypass security features and create new accessibility, what is to stop the government from demanding that Apple write code to turn on the microphone in aid of government surveillance, activate the video camera, surreptitiously record conversations, or turn on location services to track the phone’s user?” asks the brief. “Nothing.”


Apple also relies on the First Amendment:

Apple has also asserted First Amendment protections in its defense, arguing that if code is speech, then the government is compelling the company to say something it doesn’t want to by forcing it to cooperate in cracking the phone’s password.

“The government asks this Court to command Apple to write software that will neutralize safety features that Apple has built into the iPhone in response to consumer privacy concerns,” says the brief. “This amounts to compelled speech and viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”

It also cites the Fifth Amendment:

Apple further argues that it has a Fifth Amendment right by being ordered by the FBI despite not being directly connected to the crime. The FBI, in Apple’s words, “by conscripting a private party with an extraordinarily attenuated connection to the crime to do the government’s bidding in a way that is statutorily unauthorized, highly burdensome, and contrary to the party’s core principles, violates Apple’s substantive due process right to be free from ‘arbitrary deprivation of [its] liberty by government.’”

Apple's legal counsel includes former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Not to mention that even (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 26, 2016 at 01:52:33 PM EST
    Apple does not crank out quality software in time to get it to the Feds to prevent any terrorist attacks that may have been discussed on that phone, unless these two people were close to other masterminds planning attacks many months in advance. It has already been over two months,rig? If this is what we are relying on to keep us safe we are already in deep trouble.

    GovtOS (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 26, 2016 at 08:08:50 PM EST
    Ted Olson: Government on path to Limitless Power (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 26, 2016 at 10:38:03 PM EST
    Apple lawyer and Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who some view as one of the most prominent practicing attorneys in the U.S., on Friday said the government appears to be on the path to "limitless" power in its court battle with Apple.

    Olson warned dangerous precedent could be set if the DOJ successfully argues its case on this point, and suggested government agencies might later leverage the same tools to compel the dedication of resources to creating bespoke systems capable of tracking people's movements or even listening in on their conversations.

    "You can imagine every different law enforcement official telling Apple we want a new product to get into something," Olson said. "Even a state judge could order Apple to build something. There's no stopping point."