On February 16, 2016, tech giant, Apple Inc., released a public statement in response to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s request that Apple create a “backdoor” to its iOS. As we all know, Apple is one of the most innovative companies when it comes to modern technology, specifically iPhone, Apple’s most sought after device. Apple uses encryption to protect users’ personal information stored on their iPhones. Using encryption to protect data within an iPhone means Apple itself cannot retrieve it. The FBI demands that Apple create a unique version of its iOS that would circumvent several crucial security features, so the FBI can use it to retrieve information stored on a recovered iPhone. In this instance, the iPhone in question was used by one of the terrorists involved in the horrific 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack.
This could have endless implications for lawyers around the world, let alone South Florida. Apple is already gaining the support of several other tech giants, including Alphabet’s Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Apple’s stance in the matter is that encryption is vital to our privacy and it should not be required to essentially disable it. Apple recognizes that the FBI has good intentions, but argues that if it creates this “backdoor,” and it gets in the hands of the wrong people, it could lead to serious consequences for the millions people who own an iPhone.
On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, a federal magistrate judge in Los Angeles issued an Order requiring Apple to provide software and technical assistance to the federal government. Apple will most likely raise defenses to this Order based on First Amendment grounds. Apple has already hired two prominent free-speech lawyers to support its position. Although unconfirmed, Apple must respond to the Court Order by February 26, 2016.
Additionally, Billionaire Mark Cuban weighed in on the matter with his blog post. Mr. Cuban suggests that the real problem is the FBI’s attempted use of the All Writs Act of 1789. As Mr. Cuban and The Daily Dot point out, the All Writs Act is only applicable when certain conditions are met, one being that there are no applicable laws controlling the situation. The bigger problem may be that there are no laws to govern this specific issue, which is why the FBI is using the All Writs Act. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
By Kyle S. Roberts, Esq.
Kyle S. Roberts, Esq. is an Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan S. Brooks, P.A., practicing primarily in Insurance Defense litigation. Mr. Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org