Why does this Matter?

The main issue at stake as I see it is not a hack of an IPhone.  That can be done, has been done, and will be done in the future.  

What this seems to be is a Government trying to force a technology company to purposely make less secure software and hardware – one of the major selling points and talking points of the last few years.

If this were done – Government forcing Apple to do its bidding – the impact to you would be this:


From that point forward how could you trust that ANY technology created would not have hardcoded, Government mandated backdoors, which would then open your business, your clients, and your finances, not to mention personal lives and friends and family to the possibility of inspection from our own Government, or another perhaps less friendly source?

It’s a question of privacy vs security - how much are we willing to give up to have the Government keep us safe?  

And even safety aside, does this create opportunities for civil litigation – is this an opening to all parts of the legal system?  Can a person that is suing you gain access through the courts to your information in order to help their case?

As noted in some articles, this is an all or nothing game.  Encryption is MATH, and once you do something it’s done, there is no way to “sort of” do it. So there is really no way to “strike a balance” – you either break it or you don’t.  Apple currently does not have a way to do this, but they COULD make one.

Since they are a multi-national company what stance do they take afterward with other Governments that are perhaps less than trustworthy, or have spotty human-rights records?

In the end, the FBI has the capability to circumvent this themselves – there are articles all over the web that detail how this could be done.  The FBI is after more than just one phone, they are after a legal precedent to be able to force companies to adhere to what they want.

I hope that you find this interesting, and I hope that you will think about this: when it comes to technology that you use every day, cases like this might affect you more than you realize. Always look beneath the hype.


A short list of Applicable Laws in Question:

All Writs Act – 1789 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Writs_Act

This Act was first codified in 1789 and is general in its wording to allow Writs to be issued by Courts and Jurisdictions - “…… necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.”

Writ: a writ is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction.

This can be a subpoena, a warrant, or any other of various orders commanding that “something” be done by “someone”.

1994 CALEA - Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. - President Clinton


This law required telecommunications companies to modify their netowrks and equipment to allow for monitoring and “wiretapping” by law enforcement agencies.

Similar UK Law:

RIPA - UK - Regulatory of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). Privacy advocates lost that fight: the bill passed in 2000, enabling the government to imprison people who refused to reveal their cryptographic keys and other things for monitoring and investigation.


  In the UK - 



[excerpt clip from]

Who really cares about surveillance?

The first line of defense for surveillance advocates – whether private sector or governmental – is to point out just how few people seem to care about privacy. What can it matter that the government is harvesting so much of our data through the backdoor, when so many of us are handing over all that and more through the front door, uploading it to Facebook and Google and Amazon and anyone who cares to set a third-party cookie on the pages we visit?

Why is it so hard to convince people to care about privacy?

Painting the pro-privacy side as out-of-step loonies, tinfoil-hatted throwbacks in the post-privacy era was a cheap and effective tactic. It made the pro-surveillance argument into a *pro-progress* one: “Society has moved on. Our data can do more good in big, aggregated piles than it can in atomized fragments on your device and mine. The private data we exhaust when we move through the digital world is a precious resource, not pollution.”


2013 Article from the Consumerist


Aboutthedata.com - to find out what info people have on you.


Facebook Data that we give away for free:



From the US:

“National Security should supersede Privacy concerns on major issues”:


Large corporations are asked all the time by the Government to help with cases and in special circumstances.  Most will do it.


From the Huffington Post:

[snip] ..In response, the defense argues that the All Writs Act does not give the court the right to "conscript and commandeer" Apple into defeating its own encryption, thus making its customers' "most confidential and personal information vulnerable to hackers, identify thieves, hostile foreign agents and unwarranted government surveillance."



UN Human Rights Chief Warns of Worldwide Privacy Implications:



And the ACLU weighs in: