Of course, Congress could choose to strike a different balance on this question, and might well do so in the future. We take no position here on that question. Nor do we address the authority courts may have to compel assistance from private persons and companies under color of other statutes that specifically contemplate the provision of technical assistance (indeed, we think the Apple cases stand in marked contrast to scenarios like the Lavabit case in the Fourth Circuit, which involved a technical-assistance order under the far-more-specific terms of 18 U.S.C. § 3123(a)(1), part of the PR/TT statute). Until such time as there is legislation expressly addressing the scenario presented by passcodes and encryption, however, the generic language of the All Writs Act will remain the only game in town for disputes like the contretemps between Apple and the FBI. Our aim is to provide a principled way to apply the All Writs Act in these cases until and unless Congress decides to provide more specific authority.
"There is no easy side to be on in this debate," he said. "Strong encryption has its costs, from protecting terrorists to drug dealers to child pornographers. But I happen to feel that the risks of weakening encryption, even a little bit, even just for the government, are potentially much worse."
For more, check out Apple Is Not the FBI's Tech Support and Apple's FBI Battle Is About the Gadgets We Haven't Even Thought of Yet, as well as our coverage from RSA, where a number of top administration officials addressed Apple's encryption fight with the FBI.
"Those worried about our privacy should stay wary," said a statement from Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who has faulted the government's stance in the case. "Just because the government was able to get into this one phone does not mean that their quest for a secret key into our devices is over."
Nothing should be beyond the realm of a judicial approved court order. That is what our justice system is built on. This is no different than entering a house, car, pc, bank account with judicial approval. Having the ability to search this phone for additional information that could help bring other responsible persons to justice and prevent such a despicable act from happening again is most important. You give up your privacy when you break the law. The software developed for this case can be used on this one phone and none others. It follows the same basic principal for privacy that we have in our homes that has been protected for centuries.
The FBI asked for a delay on the court fight last week because it may have figured out a way to break the iPhone's encryption on its own. Today the Department of Justice announced they have succeeded in getting into Farook's phone with the help of a third party. Apple's help is no longer needed. From CNN:
He would not name the "third party" that helped the FBI. And he refused to say whether the FBI will disclose this hacking method to Apple so the company can protect future phones from being hacked this way.
Even though this particular fight is ending, the battle over encryption bypasses or "back doors" upon command by the federal government is far from over. Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are currently drafting legislation that might require tech companies in some fashion to provide access through their own encryption. We don't know the final text as yet, but it would apparently authorize judges to order tech companies to do exactly what happened in this Apple case. Specifically giving judges authority to demand assistance would avoid a fight over the limits of the All Writs Act.
What specifically is Apple promising to protect as "private"? Some of the data on a particular device. Their vigilance does not extend to the data that leaves your phone and moves through cables and into and out of Apple's servers, data that is stored remotely "in the cloud," or the data that is collected by a myriad of companies you digitally contact. (As I have argued elsewhere on this blog, we need to rethink the relationship of "metadata" to privacy.) Apple, in other words, is not fighting to protect much in the way of your data; it is not even offering to protect what you store on its iCloud service. 2b1af7f3a8