Apple Vs. FBI Roundup: All The News And Analysis You May Have Missed

March 1, 2016
In The News

February 25, 2016



Last week, a magistrate ordered Apple to help the FBI hack an iPhone used by a shooter in the San Bernardino attack, and Apple decided to publicly fight the order. The US government is apparently making access demands that even China hasn’t asked for, essentially asking Apple to write custom software to disable security features put in place to prevent people from breaking into devices. Speaking of China, the New York Times removed a passage on the country in its story.

A Pew Research Center survey, based on poorly worded questions, showed more support for the Justice Department than Apple, but Reuters showed solid support for Apple in the battle. Tech giants are picking sides, too, with the Mozilla Foundation, as well as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg siding with Apple, as well as Congressman Ted Lieu. If you’re on the fence, the Washington Post made a good case for why you should side with Apple. (For the FBI’s perspective, you can read JFBI Director James Comey’s Lawfare blog post.)

The Basics

  • Apple’s FBI Battle is Complicated: Here’s What’s Really Going On, by Kim Zetter at WIRED, is incredibly thorough.
  • Apple’s battle with the FBI: All your questions answered is an accessible but comprehensive Q+A written by Kashmir Hill for Fusion.
  • A Technical Perspective on the Apple iPhone Case, by EFF technology fellow Joseph Bonneau, provides a technical overview “based on information gleaned from the FBI’s court motion and Apple’s security documentation.”
  • This is the Real Reason Apple is Fighting the FBI is Cato Institute senior fellow Julian Sanchez’s rundown of all of the repercussions.
  • Apple, FBI, and the Burden of Forensic Methodology Jonathan Zdziarski explained the difference between the FBI asking Apple for data vs. asking it to build a forensic tool.

Tim Cook, Himself

In this video, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke with ABC News anchor David Muir about how the FBI’s request amounted to “the software equivalent of cancer.”

All About the All Writs Act

At Motherboard, Sarah Jeong wrote about an obscure statute from 1789 that the government is using to try to force Apple to unlock the phone in question. Meanwhile, the New Yorker calls using the All Writs Act in this case a dangerous precedent.

But Wait, There’s CALEA

And it limits the All Writs Act and protects iPhone security, according to a blog post written by Albert Gidari for The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

The Repercussions

Julian Sanchez followed up his Time post with a piece for Just Security on the potential dire consequences of the FBI getting what it wants, and the Intercept’s Jenna McLaughlin wrote about how other law enforcers are hungry to exploit what the FBI is framing as a narrow court order. Over at Slate, Open Technology Institute policy director Kevin Bankston discussed why encryption on phones helps law enforcement more than it hurts them. (Meanwhile, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office decided to drop iPhones in response to Apple’s decision to protect its customers’ security and public safety.)

Last but not least, Apple is hard at work creating an iPhone even it can’t hack, which could well render this debate obsolete