Daily Management Review

iPhone Request is Unprecedented' says Apple in Court Filling


iPhone Request is Unprecedented' says Apple in Court Filling
Claiming the unlocking an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters would violate its free speech rights and override the will of Congress, Apple Inc struck back in court against a U.S. government demand which has been demanding the unlocking of the phone.  
Ever since the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a court order requiring Apple to write new software and take other measures to disable passcode protection and allow access to shooter Rizwan Farook's iPhone, high-stakes fight between Apple and the government has burst into the open.
This fight has again raised a long-running debate over how much law enforcement and intelligence officials should be able to monitor digital communications.
Apple said in its court brief that software was a form of protected speech and thus the Justice Department's demand violated the constitution, the IT company said that the court should throw out the order that it issued last week.
"The government's request here creates an unprecedented burden on Apple and violates Apple's First Amendment rights against compelled speech," the company said.
Noting that Congress had rejected legislation that would have required companies to do the things the government is asking Apple to do in this case, Apple also contended that the court was over-stepping its jurisdiction.
"No court has ever authorized what the government now seeks, no law supports such unlimited and sweeping use of the judicial process, and the Constitution forbids it," Apple said in its filing.
The government argues that apple is compelled to comply with the court order due to the All Writs Act, a broad 1789 law which enables judges to require actions necessary to enforce their own orders.
A key U.S. Supreme Court case, which involved a telephone company, to the San Bernardino situation had been wrongly applied by the prosecutors, Apple argued in its filing. Apple said it should not be forced to help the government hack into the San Bernardino iPhone since Apple is not a utility, and because Congress declined to force companies like Apple to build "backdoors" into their products.
The order from the federal court in Riverside, California last week was won by the Justice Department without the company present. While a detailed hearing is scheduled for next month, the judge allowed Apple to respond in the brief on Thursday.
Apple seems to have found support for its stand from some of the largest tech companies. briefs would be filed in support of the iPhone maker by both Google and Facebook, said several sources familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly about it.
Microsoft President Brad Smith said in congressional testimony Thursday that the company would file a friend-of the-court brief as well. Twitter also said it will sign a brief in support of Apple.
Its approach to prosecuting crimes has not changed, the Justice Department said in a statement responding to Apple's filing.
"The change has come in Apple's recent decision to reverse its long-standing cooperation in complying with All Writs Act orders," department spokesperson Melanie Newman said.