Apple Hires Free Speech Lawyers in FBI iPhone Unlocking Battle

| News

Apple hired two attorneys, Theodore Olson and Theodore Boutrous, well known for their expertise in freedom of speech cases as part of the legal defense it's using to fight a Federal court order to strip out security protections in iOS so the FBI can hack into an iPhone. Their names showed up in court documents from the case, hinting that Apple may be planning to use First Amendment freedom of speech arguments as part of their justification for not complying with the order.

Mr. Olsen is known for his win in the 2010 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission case. Mr. Boutrous has a history of representing media outlets in freedom of speech cases.

Apple retains freedom of speech experts for FBI court order fightApple retains freedom of speech experts for FBI court order fight

The FBI was granted a court order earlier this week compelling Apple to create a special version of iOS it can use to launch a brute force attack on the passcode for an iPhone recovered from one of the shooters in last year's San Bernardino County Department of Public Health terrorist attack. The phone had been issued by the county to one of the shooters, who was also an employee, Syed Rizwan Farook.

Because the iPhone is password protected, the device's contents is encrypted and inaccessible to law enforcement authorities. Built-in security measures will wipe the iPhone's data after ten failed login attempts, hence the FBI's push for an order compelling Apple to sidestep the security feature.

The FBI says it wants the special iOS version only for this one iPhone because they think it may contain important information related to the shooting. Apple wants to avoid creating the hackable iPhone operating system over fears it'll set a precedent where our own government continues to use it, governments around the world demand it for their own uses.

"The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that's simply not true," Apple CEO Tim Cook said. "Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices."

Next up: Apple's First Amendment Argument 

Comments

Dorkus Maximus

Theodore Olson isn’t just a well-known lawyer who’s argued cases in front of the Supreme Court, he’s also a widower whose wife was one of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

CudaBoy

EVERYBODY loses what little privacy we have left because of TWO lousy knuckleheads in San Bernadoo?? Not on my watch. This is a microcosm of what is wrong with the world today where a tiny little minority of idiots can have sway over the vast majority.

BurmaYank

The White House has created “We the People” to be a platform on the White House website where individuals can create and sign petitions that call for action by the federal government on a range of issues facing our nation. For each topic included in We the People, users can petition the Administration to address a problem, support or oppose a proposal, or otherwise change or continue federal government policy or actions… If the petition meets a pre-set signature threshold within a designated time period, the petition will become visible to individuals browsing or searching the White House website. If enough users sign the petition to reach a second pre-set signature threshold within that time period, the White House commits to respond to the petition in a timely fashion. The White House may also elect to respond to any petition before it reaches the first or second threshold.ONCE THE WHITE HOUSE RESPONDS TO A PETITION, IT IS CLOSED TO ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES.

Accordingly, WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:Halt efforts that compel Apple and other device makers to create a “backdoor” for the Government to access citizens data.

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of its customers.

The FBI, is demanding that Apple build a “backdoor” to bypass digital locks protecting consumer information on Apple’s popular iPhones.

We (the undersigned), oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

#Westandwithapple - Matthew Kick
Published Date: Feb 17, 2016
Full letter: Https://www.apple.com/customer-letter/

BurmaYank

@CudaBoy:

As you probably know, the DOJ/FBI have been building this case for years, waiting for the best pretext to present itself for exploitation, to create “Case Law” by a SCOTUS ruling which would cement in place greatly expanded Federal powers under the “All Writs” law, so that it wouldn’t be necessary to try to agonizingly (/vainly) wrestle for those powers thru a legislated law from Congress.

Those “TWO lousy knuckleheads in San Bernadoo??” were only insignificant coincidental fungibilities.

BurmaYank

BurmaYank

Scott B in DC

@BurmaYank: If that is the case then their plans just got derailed with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Apple can petition SCOTUS to bypass the Appellate courts, but it is unlikely the court will do that. If they go to the 9th District, they have a history in ruling favorably for the tech companies and then the government will appeal to SCOTUS. However, if the case is heard by a three-judge appellate panel, SCOTUS can push it back for a full hearing. These procedural delays may be enough to give whatever political maneuverings will take place in order to seat a new justice.

Unless we get President Trump, the death of Scalia will hurt their case.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account