Apple v. FBI; First Amendment

A tense struggle between Apple and the government brought up hot issues of security, privacy and encryption.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently asked Apple to write a code for the FBI that would allow the bypass of iPhone’s lock-out function.

The phone in question is an iPhone that had belonged to one of two terrorists in the 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, California. The shooting left 14 dead and 24 injured.

The FBI states if Apple helpes it unlock the recovered iPhone, the information could aid in helping prevent future attacks.

Apple argued that the court order violated their first and fith amendment rights, and the action would endanger the safety of individual’s information. The courts established code as protected speech in Bernstein v. US Department of Justice in 1999.

Apple representatives have stated the demands would make iPhones less safe; ultimately creating a “back door” for law enforcement.

“This is not a case about one isolated iPhone,” stated Apple attorney Marc Zwillinger. “Rather, this case is about the Department of Justice and the FBI seeking through the courts a dangerous power that Congress and the American people have withheld: the ability to force companies like Apple to undermine the basic security and privacy interests of hundreds of millions of individuals around the globe.

“The government wants to compel Apple to create a crippled and insecure product,” Apple said in court documents.

Apple revealed that it could meet the FBI’s demands by assigning engineers to work from two to four weeks. In a written testimony, an Apple employee nicknamed the software “GovtOS.”

The government will have the chance to respond to Apple on March 10, and Apple can offer a reply by March 15.