Key to Apple Encryption Fight: a 1789 Law

Government trots out the 'All Writs Act'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2016 8:57 AM CST
Key to Apple Encryption Fight: a 1789 Law
Apple CEO Tim Cook.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

A court has ordered Apple to help the FBI crack the security of an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardinio shooters, but CEO Tim Cook says that would be too dangerous of a precedent. Some related coverage:

  • We're in "uncharted waters," observes Time, because the government's case rests on an interpretation of the 1789 All Writs Act. (Read it in its codified glory here; it's just two short sentences.)
  • The law "simply allows courts to issue a writ, or order, which compels a person or company to do something," explains Ars Technica, which notes that its application in at least one tech case has failed previously.
  • TechDirt and this 2014 Wall Street Journal piece also dig in to the legal strategy.

  • The BBC breaks down the overall case in "plain English."
  • Mashable lays out the technical logistics of what would be involved for Apple.
  • The CEO of Google sounded generally supportive of Apple in a series of tweets cited by NBC News. But a Forbes blogger argues that what the tweets didn't say exposed "a gulf between the position of the two companies."
  • A piece at Wired makes the case that Apple's stand against the FBI is good for business.
  • At the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo writes that "tech companies are destined to emerge victorious" in this pitched battle with the government.
(More Apple stories.)

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