ACLU: There’s more where Apple vs. FBI came from

Like we said earlier this week when the feds dropped their fight with Apple over unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, the battle isn’t over.

Cases in point: The ACLU on Wednesday published an interactive map showing dozens of cases where the government is attempting to use the All Writs Act — the same broad, ancient law it cited in the Apple vs. FBI fight — to compel Apple and also Google to unlock phones across the country. The ACLU provides details about 63 such cases, including their places of origin, investigating agencies and more. Many of them involve drug investigations.

In response to the ACLU’s release of the information, a Google spokesman told the Wall Street Journal: “We’ve never received an All Writs Act order like the one Apple recently fought that demands we build new tools that actively compromise our products’ security…. We would strongly object to such an order.”

The ACLU says its findings disprove the government’s insistence that it wasn’t trying to set a precedent when it brought the fight against Apple in the San Bernardino case.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 locked phones and other devices that figure into state and local cases are now in limbo after this week’s developments, USA Today reports.

The government on Monday said it was dropping its case against Apple because it had found a way to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, Syed Farook, without the company’s help. The government didn’t disclose how it accessed the phone, so it’s unclear whether the technique can be used in other pending cases.

The USA Today article also says that amid the rising use of encryption in phones and other devices, law enforcement officials are expected to keep turning to tech companies for help.


Photo illustration: An iPhone held up in front of the Apple logo. (AFP/Getty Images)


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  • fstein

    Here are Comey’s lies:
    1) It’s about one phone. No, it’s all about setting a precedent. (for all phones, cars, door locks, power plants, financial services, etc.)
    2) It’s about privacy. No it’s about security.
    3) Cannot unlock the iPhone without Apple’s help.
    4) It’s about Apple’s brand. No, it’s about my (and everyone else’s) security, such as financial data, or ability to open my locked doors, or….
    5) Apple helped China. And helped US law enforcement 3 times more often.