back to article Norman Conquest, King Edward, cyber pathogen and illegal gambling all emerge in Apple v FBI

OK, we got it: Apple good, FBI bad. But seeing as the court case between these two powerful institutions is taking on ever-increasing importance, we figured it was time to actually listen to what law enforcement has to say about the case of the locked phone. And the truth is, it makes a lot of sense. Certainly enough sense …


  1. Snowy

    Maybe if...

    governments where not so actively spying on all it's citizens, the same citizens would not feel the need to stop them doing it via encryption?

    While most people have nothing to hide in terms of crimes, people do have things they would not like to be widely known?

    Mine is not encrypted but the only even slightly embarrassing thing you going to find on myphone is what level I'm up to on candy crsuh!

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Maybe if...

      IMHO, spot on Snowy. The fuzz and spooks are now reaping what they have sown. Treat all citizens as crims, and they will act like crims, ie treat all police actions as probably hostile. If surveillance was restricted to what merkins call probable cause with judicial oversight there might be some measure of acceptance that sometime privacy comes second to potential justice.

      Now that we are all the enemy, everyone loses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe if...

        So much for the Nation of Franklin and Paine who managed to escape the serfdom of the Norman Illegitimii.

        See how far you have sunk back.

        Perhaps it would be more appropriate to the De Facto law of the usurper Henry VII.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe if...

          "... It quotes the Supreme Court (in 1895) when it said: "The basic concept that every citizen can be compelled to assist in the pursuit or apprehension of suspected criminals has ancient Saxon origins, predating the Norman Conquest..."

          Does that include or exclude criminals in the Government and it's organs ?

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Maybe if...

      Yeah but that's not the point.

      1. BoldMan

        Re: Maybe if...

        > Yeah but that's not the point.

        No that is exactly the point. If we were able to trust the authorities NOT to abuse the privileges granted to them, then this would not be an issue. As it stands they have been PROVEN to be untrustworthly.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe if...

      The authors final point misses the point, cooperation requires trust, but the authorities were revealed as lawless untrustworthy thugs, so the justifications are farce! Maybe when the big criminals like the "too big to fail" banksters, a lot of thug politicians and many government thugs/voyeurs are properly prosecuted and removed, some trust may eventually return.

      Encryption by people is really quite reasonable self-defence against common and state thugs, because even seemingly innocuous stored information can be used in vicious ways, especially via fake law, called statues!

      Democracy is flawed at the best of times, but when combined with socialism (Communism or Facism) and political bribery by rich heads, it slides to downright evil and will eventually collapse from lack of support and finance, but will become increasingly, desperately tyrannical the closer it gets to finally expiring!

      The time for Anarchism may have soon come, but is only viable with cooperation, not the evil deceptions of religion or socialism.

    4. SuccessCase

      Re: Maybe if...

      "But law enforcement is trying to tell anyone that will listen a hard truth: you like it now, but wait until you or your family are at the end of a crime and the person walks free because they were unable to prove their case. Thanks to that black-screened iPhone. Then you may not back Tim Cook quite so strongly."

      Or maybe, you will be wise enough to see the value of upholding a right to privacy and back Apple anyway, like this victim of the shooter this is all about:

      "When I first learned Apple was opposing the order I was frustrated that it would be yet another roadblock. But as I read more about their case, I have come to understand their fight is for something much bigger than one phone. They are worried that this software the government wants them to use will be used against millions of other innocent people. I share their fear.

      I support Apple and the decision they have made. I don’t believe Tim Cook or any Apple employee believes in supporting terrorism any more than I do. I think the vicious attacks I’ve read in the media against one of America’s greatest companies are terrible."

      -- Salihin Kondoker

  2. Red Sceptic

    No - it's binary

    There are no shades of grey here. Either you have secure data or you don't. Once you create a backdoor into a system, unlock just *one* phone, make just *one* exception for law enforcement or whoever, THAT IS IT. There will be no going back:

    a) once the vulnerability is made, do you really think it will stay in the hands of "the good guys", even if they were the ones (whomsoever they may be) for whom it was specifically created?

    b) once the precedent is set so that "the good guys" (whomsoever they may be) can get the information that they want, do you think that others will not seek to use whatever means necessary to avail themselves of this, whether by rule of law or commercial pressure or some other means?

    It's binary, people - being referred to as "West Coast law" in some articles I've been reading.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

      Re: No - it's binary

      Computerphile video where the same point is made.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

      Re: No - it's binary

      Hmmm... What if - yes - it is a binary decision...

      ...but both sides are simultaneously absolutely correct?

      Not just in the tiresome 'different values' sense, but in the sense of both arguments being factually and logically correct, including their contradictory conclusions.

      We may have met the Schrödinger's cat of logic-based ethics.

      1. Vic

        Re: No - it's binary

        What if - yes - it is a binary decision...

        ...but both sides are simultaneously absolutely correct?

        They're not.

        The FBI's position is that refusing to unlock this phone means that search warrants become worthless. This is a lie.

        What it actually means is that search warrants do not afford unbounded powers to the authorities - in just the same way as they don't afford the power to strip someone naked, drag them through the streets and then beat a confession out of them. It's a limited right to search, and what they're trying to do with it is not permitted, to the point of being consitutionally prohibited.

        Apple is right to fight this with everything it's got.


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No - it's binary

        That is the essence of a dilemma: both choices are simultaneously correct and incorrect. At some point, one must make a decision about which alternative to follow, knowing that regardless, it can be demonstrated to be an error. The legal system is simply a way of gathering, communicating and evaluating information. There is no "right" answer, the best we can hope for is to make an informed choice and live with the consequences. Making no decision is also a decision!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No - it's binary

          Go back 76years when total war was necessary for various countries, means is an end, I know simple minds and easily brainwashed people existed but for the greater good and all that,it could be much more dire ,and consequences cannot be realised.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: No - it's binary

        "Hmmm... What if - yes - it is a binary decision...

        ...but both sides are simultaneously absolutely correct?"

        Then the tie goes to the runner, or in this case, Apple and personal privacy rather than the government.

        I'm not out doing crimes and don't have criminal "secrets", but I do have lots of thing that I would like to keep private. In the US, we've already seen instances of police officers insisting people stopped for traffic violations hand over their phones and some evidence that the data on the phones was captured. That was a few generations of hardware ago and that sort of data gathering would be so much easier if the mobile OS vendors were required to supply "law enforcement" with the tools to lay their devices bare.

        It's common near the US borders for the Border Patrol to REQUIRE access to laptops and other devices. That suspension of the US constitution is valid up to 150 miles from the border. The legal loophole is not commonly used outside of border crossing points, but it could be legal in cities like San Diego to confiscate mobile devices for examination without a warrant. The justification is to prevent terrorism, drug trafficking and child pornography, but in reality, the agents aren't computer experts and it would take somebody leaving blatant files on the desktop for the "check" to be worth anything. There have been cases where laptops have been kept up to 6 months before being returned. I haven't seen any reports of unknown criminals being caught. A couple of known criminals were caught after being recognized (human or facial detection) and their kit taken away.

        If the only evidence to convict somebody of a crime is on their locked phone, how did the police suspect them in the first place? Ok, obvious in the case of the San Berdo shooters, but they don't need anything for a case against them, they're dead. They want to root around to see if they can find some extra stuff. This makes the warrant to compel Apple to hack their own security a little iffy. There is no case that will go before a judge regarding the affair. The metadata is already know, locations are already known. What do they expect to find? A Text that reads: "We're going in, see you in paradise."?

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: No - it's binary

      It's binary, people - being referred to as "West Coast law" in some articles I've been reading.


      It's only binary for nerds who don't get away from coding much And for people who are so starry eyed that they write really bad articles about "West Coast Law" (a concept which is about as stupid as "dormant cyber pathogens"), see also: xkcd.

      The real world or society doesn't work that way.

      Safety from unreasonable searches and seizures - yes. Not having to self-incriminate - yes. Helping the police with enquiries - also yes.

      One could argue that the utter corruption of the political caste, the self-gratifying/mission-enhancing civil serpentry and law enforcement is now coming home to roost and one would be right. That would be another article though.

    4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: No - it's binary

      No, its not exactly binary. True, if you make software vulnerable then suddenly everyone's phone and tablet can be accessed, probably remotely, and with very low cost or discoverability. That will open the doors to more abuse of such powers in exactly the same way the NSA, GCHQ, etc, decide that spying on all of us "just in case" was OK.

      What if the key could be accessed by physical forensics, e.g. by grinding the top off a chip and using an electron microscope to read it out? Bingo! The law can access the phone if it is important enough but the time and cost, along with the need to basically destroy the phone physically, means it can't be massively abused in the way a permanent backdoor (key escrow) or software bypass (as the FBI are currently requesting) can be.

      1. VanguardG

        Re: No - it's binary

        Given that US Law Enforcement can already seize any personal property "on suspicion" of it being used in wrongdoing, *and* they have no obligation to provide care for that property, this is scarcely much of a hurdle...and our law enforcement system has already proven perfectly willing to spend $750,000 to gain a conviction that carries a $10,000 penalty.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No - it's binary

      > There are no shades of grey here. Either you have secure data or you don't.

      Certainly there are shades of grey. Your house is not totally "secure" nor "insecure", neither is your car.

      If a car manufacturer kept a spare key for every car they made, then they would be able to get into your car if you lost your keys. This would not be an inherent security weakness of the car (that is, one which anybody else could exploit if it existed); it would just be a copy of the token which you yourself use to get in.

      Similarly, Apple *could* keep a copy of each device's individual encryption key. They could keep them offline, separated from each other, in a physically secure location, released only on lawful authority. This would not be a "backdoor" which could be exploited by criminals. To use it you would need the seized device itself, *plus* the device's individual key, released by a court order. It would not enable any sort of remote access to the device, and having one key would not help you access any other device.

      Such an approach would meet the expectations of society that law enforcement would be able to search a phone in the same way that they can search a building.

      If Apple are not prepared to do this today, then I would expect the law to change to compel them to do so.

      The real issues are:

      - given that Apple sells products in many countries around the world, how would this work with the enforcement agencies in each country? Would Apple US centrally deal with every agency in every country? Or would the keys for a product sold in a particular country have to be kept in that country?

      What happens if a product is bought in country X, shipped to someone in country Y, and then a crime is committed in country Z?

      - what do you do about home-made crypto devices? That cat is out of the bag.

      1. PatientOne

        Re: No - it's binary


        I see it more as the FBI demanding the car manufacturers provide a master key that opens all their cars. Then they can access the cars at will - not just when the owner looses the key.

        Next we'll see the FBI going after lock makers. Insist they make locks with a bypass so the FBI/Police can enter a house without having to try smashing the door open, which isn't always that easy as if police can do it, so can criminals, so people are looking for harder/stronger/more secure doors...

        And after that? How about back door access to online banks, high street banks, business data, computers... give them even one inch of rope...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No - it's binary

          > I see it more as the FBI demanding the car manufacturers provide a master key that opens all their cars.

          But that's not what the FBI are *actually* asking for in this case.

          Anyway, there seem to be two very distinct threat models under consideration.

          (1) Law enforcement, properly authorised by a court order, investigating targeted individuals who have been linked to a crime.

          (2) Fishing expeditions by the secret services, where in the interests of "prevention of terrorism" or whatever, everybody's data is slurped regardless of probable cause or due process.

          Absolutely, everybody needs to be protected against (2). But I think it should be possible to provide (1) without (2).

          If you provide an access method which requires *physical access to the device* plus *device-specific key, individually released released by court order*, then there is no need to weaken the device against remote attack.

        2. mhaldix

          Re: No - it's binary

          Perhaps we should all send our house and car keys to the FBI so that they, or their local agents, can come along any time they wish and check we aren't behaving in ways that are illegal in the US.

          I seriously wonder how this case plays in international law, does the US FBI now consider itself to be the world's policeman?

          If the US authorities win this case and the proposed random snooping Bill is passed here in the UK then I, for one, will be looking for some genuinely safe encryption software for my personal data.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No - it's binary

        The real issue being Apple to be compelled to give up all keys to China, India, The US, The Uk, France, Iran and who ever else.

        The second issue being that Apple would be the instant target of any hacker worth his salt to get these keys. And yes someone will succeed. So say goodbye to your social security number, bankaccount number, CC number etc.

        The real issue is that we might to some extend trust western law enforcement, but that weakening encryption will give the same opportunities to any bad guy, be it the government of some rogue state or some cracker-collective.

  3. Stevie Silver badge


    First of all, the calls made by iPhone owners have been traced at the metadata level by the NSA. There is no need to crack the phone to establish a web of contactees.

    Second, e-transactions are recorded by the credit card banks who can and will pony up records at the drop of a hat, sometimes even to people who are not from countries once behind the Iron Curtain.

    As for these Sherrifs, have them return poroperty pirated under the amazingly loose "booty" confiscation laws before giving them any more freecom to act unilaterally.

    Nope. I'm. Law-abiding bloke whose e-comms have been raped in the interests of "national security" and enough is enough. If the FBI needs data owned by the NSA, have the DHS go get it - that's why the god-damned agency was created in the first place.

    It occurs to me to ask why, on a work phone not actually the said terrorist's property, this is even a thing. How could the owners be locked out of their own hardware? Notwithstanding the FBI uckfup that put them in the courtroom with their collective thumbs up their asses in the first place, of course.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[..] it's fair to say that the majority of law-abiding citizens would want prosecutors to be able to access evidence that could help convict someone of a serious crime, regardless of how strongly they feel about their own personal privacy."

    That is a very large assumption - I'm sure there is a legal expression for using such a tactic to try to sway an audience.

    The public are getting wise to the agencies crying wolf - and then using their new powers to go after law-abiding citizens for what might not even constitute minor offences. They are easy targets to boost the agencies' statistics.

    An underlying principle of English law is that it is better for nine offenders to go free - than one innocent person be unjustly convicted. We live with the risk - and that is an essence of democracy. No one would wish to live in a world where law-abiding citizens were automatically regarded as guilty unless they could prove their innocence.

    The Edward I "hue and cry" was very unpopular with the general populace. It often meant a community being forced to hunt down one of their own for a "crime" against the unequal power of the elite. The punishment for failing to take part in the "hue and cry" was draconian. Citing some governments who have done that would invoke Godwin's Law.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Society be dammed

      "An underlying principle of English law is that it is better for nine offenders to go free - than one innocent person be unjustly convicted."

      Unfortunately this is not how the FBI and other American law enforcement agencies view the situation. It appears that to them there is no cost too high. They must "win". That society looses is of no consequence to them.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Society be dammed

        That would be the Hoover dam then.

        1. Ole Juul Silver badge

          Re: Society be dammed

          "That would be the Hoover dam then."

          (I'm embarrassed about the spelling error) Actually that should probably be the J. Edgar Hoover kind of damned.

          1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

            Re: Society be dammed: The News ROM

            Aaron Sorkin had his hero state that the first person to be cross examined by Macarthy gave in to him and that had he been born with the gumption of (Eugene Debs for example but I forget the name of the first traitor called) the whole red menace threat would have been stillborn.

            "Apple's argument falls back on an ancient document" because there wasn't one in the 1950's other than that early amendment to the constitution. We now wait to see, in the final countdown how many apples are not rotten at the core.

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Society be dammed

        The FBI in particular have not got a stellar track record in dealing with political dissidents. You don't want to give them even more power.

    2. RobertD

      Hue and Cry

      Even more recently in the US the sheriff was able to set up a posse, which is from the Latin posse comitatus, and means that he was able to call on men to sort out any trouble.

  5. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Some very authoritarian arguments and assumptions in play here.

    The author states: "Taking a step back, it's fair to say that the majority of law-abiding citizens would want prosecutors to be able to access evidence that could help convict someone of a serious crime, regardless of how strongly they feel about their own personal privacy."

    I disagree. I don't think the majority of citizens - "law abiding" or not - want the police to have any more power than they already do. A vocal minority of people trust the police. Most don't. And the police, spooks, governments and so forth haven't been doing anything to regain the trust they have lost. They can't be trusted with the power they already have. There is no reason whatsoever they should be allowed access to the treasure trove of information on our phones.

    Why, you might ask? Because of the silliness of the concept of "law abiding" (shall we play No True Scotsman?). Nobody is law abiding. NOBODY. Every single one of us commits multiple infractions of the law every day. The laws are designed like this. Not only can no one person know all the laws to which they are supposed to be beholden, but many of those laws are contradictory or criminalize ordinary everyday activities.

    Phones and computers contain us. Our lives in all aspects. If there were some means by which it could be assured that law enforcement agencies - from the NSA down to the local bylaw cops - were only allowed to search phones when they had a damned good reason to believe that level of privacy invasion was warranted, they had a judge signing off on it and there was layer upon layer of oversight...maybe - just maybe - we could all meet in the middle and talk about this like adults.

    Unfortunately, no such means of restraining the police exists. They are too powerful, politically, for anyone to rein them in. We've see that over and over and over again, in all western nations. Cope in the US roll on out of a cruiser in response to a call and in one fluid motion murder a 12 year old boy in cold blood. No calls for him to surrender. Nothing. Why? He was playing with a toy gun in a park. They get away with it. And then the city sends the family of the murdered child a bill for $500 for the ambulance.

    If police have the capability to pwn a phone they will use it to go fishing. They will use it without oversight. They will use it without warrants. They will use it to investigate every tiny crime and misdemeanor in an attempt to fine evidence - any evidence - of further things they can nail someone with.

    And they will! Every single one of us, as stated above, is guilty of something. And our phones probably know what. How can we, as a society, justify handing over that level of power to an unaccountable, unrestrained and massively corrupt group of law enforcement agencies who have every interest in ruling their communities and absolutely zero interest in serving their communities?

    In addition to the above, there is a quote from Generic Corrupt Cop #42: "If Apple can refuse lawful court orders to reasonably assist law enforcement, public safety will suffer. Crimes will go unsolved and criminals will go free"

    So his argument - and that of authoritarians everywhere - is that it is perfectly fine to remove the presumption of innocence in order to catch the guilty. This is wrong.

    It is, in fact, better that a thousand guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished for a crime he did not commit.

    Giving the cops unrestrained access to our personal lives gives them the power to go fishing to invent things to crucify us with. They can - and they will - use that power injudiciously, to further prejudice and as a means of punishment against dissidents and dissenters.

    Unless and until we can solve the problems inherent in the schism between the people and those who are supposed to serve them we should absolutely and emphatically not be granting our self-styled masters yet more power over us.

    Fix the system first. Then we can talk about letting that system see everything we've ever done, or ever will do.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Some very authoritarian arguments and assumptions in play here.

      Of all the arguments I've heard, both for Apple and for the FBI's case, you've said it best. Governments by nature are corrupted by the power they hold. Originally, in some countries, this power was granted with restrictions by the citizens. But as always, the power corrupts.

    2. Michael Thibault

      Re: Some very authoritarian arguments and assumptions in play here.

      >refuse lawful court orders to reasonably assist law enforcement

      Here are found two critical--even pivotal--qualifiers: "lawful" and "reasonable". I take it that Apple questions the applicability of both to the current situation. As they should.

      If the idea is not to aid or abet criminals, directly or indirectly, why would anyone willingly oblige any agency, in any country, that colluded with its peers and created a planet-spanning, indiscriminate and omnivorous digital dragnet, in secret, and without specific authority, specific need, or evident oversight?

  6. Ole Juul Silver badge


    society accepts that the people that break its rules and laws should not be able to rely on those same laws to prevent them from being punished.

    No. Society accepts that we should all be subject to the same laws.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Correction

      "For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'.”

      --David Cameron

      The concept of "if you keep your nose clean, you'll be left alone" is nothing more than a lie told to (and only believed by) the incredibly naive. The rest of us have to live in (and try to shape our society to compensate for) a world in which even the smallest power corrupts absolutely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Correction

        Stasi State: “If you’ve nothing to hide, then you’ve nothing to fear”

        Rejoinder: “If I’ve got nothing to hide, then why are you watching me ? ”

    2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Re: Correction

      No. Society accepts that all except the Sheriff of Youtube and negroes should all be subject to the same laws.

    3. scrubber

      Re: Correction

      Anyone who believes that criminals should not be protected by the same laws as the rest of us is on a slippery slope to torture, barbarism, totalitarianism. It's something the far right in the US say. I'm pretty sure most UK citizens would not be terribly keen on waterboarding shoplifters, or ramming bamboo shoots under the fingernails of speeding motorists - no matter how affected our families had been by motorists and light fingered miscreants.

      it's fair to say that the majority of law-abiding citizens would want prosecutors to be able to access evidence that could help convict someone of a serious crime, regardless of how strongly they feel about their own personal privacy.

      No, it's not fair at all. If the government said it should go house to house searching any they fancied on the basis that there may be smuggled goods or persons of interest within then there may be a bit of an outcry, a revolution one might even say:

      the court order breaks the Thirteenth Amendment (1865) – that's right, the one abolishing slavery. How does that work exactly?

      Is the author so dull that he can't see the argument, bogus or not, that forcing a company (and its staff) to work and create something against their will and under threat of punishment is a pretty good example of "involuntary servitude"?

      It is worth noting, however, that Lavabit does not actually exist any more

      Yes it is, but not for the reasons the author thinks! Lavabit was ordered to hand over all its private keys so the government could see not only Snowden's emails, but also everyone else's.

      Was this written by a government shill?

  7. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Basic Issue

    The basic issue is trust. To often the local, state, and various feral Stasis have destroyed any trust large segments of the population might have had in them. Competently managed companies such as Apple realize that the prerequisite for customer loyalty is trust. If one trusts an organization and its word, one is more willing to listen to them.

    For myself, I am very wary of the various Stasis, too many are nothing more than criminal gangs with a badge (Chicago PD is a good example). However, in spite of my dislike of their privacy policies, I have more trust in Slurp to at least follow their stated policies. The fact I have a level of trust in Slurp does not mean I am a loyal customer.

  8. tfewster Silver badge

    Law enforcement good, m'kay?

    I'd love to see a demand from a Russian court to access POTUS's phone added to this list. And then watch the frantic back-pedalling as the TLA agencies realise that "lawful" is not binary.

  9. Old Used Programmer

    Sauce for the gander.

    First, require all phones, both personal and work related, used by any employee of the FBI, including the Director, be unencrypted and subject to having any contents provided to any citizen who asks.

  10. Franklin

    Math is math

    One of the fundamental problems I see here is that the FBI, and many people who argue in favor of the FBI's case, don't really get that math is math. Math does not distinguish between bad guys and good guys. Math doesn't know about due process or judicial oversight. Math is math.

    Encryption is math. If there's a way to break or circumvent an encryption system, that's math. Because math is math and knows nothing of good guys and bad guys, any system that allows bypassing or otherwise circumventing encryption is an equal-opportunity tool. (Do we assume that China doesn't have mathematicians? Russia? Organized crime?)

    In the past, it has been possible, at least to some extent, to partition law enforcement abilities by making--to greater or lesser extent--the tools they use available only to the "right" people. You can't do that with math. Math is just...math.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Math is math

      Is this a new nerd song?

      Let me introduce you to my new "math opening" cellar...

  11. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    If you want to go that far back...

    Then most of this data was inaccessible... people didn't keep paper receipts or incriminating contact lists, they bartered and remembered. If you wanted to record a conversation, you needed a spy present (and holding a quill?).

    Of course, even of the FBI win, they aren't going to get the access they want - if the knowledge that Apple phones are unbreakable means that all the criminals move to Apple, then an FBI win will push the criminals onto a more secure platform - pick any cheap smartphone from China. Even if the phone has a communist backdoor, a criminal in the US doesn't care because it's more difficult for the FBI to get into.

    Putting on my tinfoil hat - it's all an elaborate charade, Apple wins, iPhone sales rocket, and the FBI still uses the secret backdoor.

    1. oldcoder

      Re: If you want to go that far back...

      Which reminds me. Even the books of illegal activity themselves were sometimes encrypted... And decoding them was very hard to do unless the associated code book was found. Just meaningless numbers in columns otherwise.

  12. DougS Silver badge

    If they want some old documents

    How about the Quartering Acts of 1765 and 1774? Those acts passed by Britain were among the factors that led to revolution in the US. It seems the colonists didn't like being forced to put up British soldiers in their home.

    The idea that it is some sort of settled law that US citizens have a duty to help police investigations wouldn't go very far with those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the 3rd amendment of the Constitution! Especially once they reveal it is based on English law from before the first white man (or rather first white man who had a decent publicist) set foot on American soil.

    1. Carlie J. Coats, Jr.

      Time-enshrined behavior

      It is a matter of record that Thomas Jefferson was involved with the creation of encryption devices (the"Jefferson Wheel"), and that a number of the Founders, including Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, routinely used encryption to protect their correspondence.

      Did they give the FBI back-door access? Or did they try to forbid that in the Constitution they wrote?

  13. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    "If Apple can refuse lawful court orders to reasonably assist law enforcement,..."

    Spot the key word!

    (Hint: it has a 'y' in it.)

    1. Anonymous Bosch

      Norman Conquest, King Edward, cyber pathogen and illegal gambling all emerge in Apple v FBI

      Another issue is the definition of "court". Is it federal courts, state, county, town? IRS,? Public opinion? FISA? Or in the case of you Brits, the bin police?

      Furthermore, this is an issue that the United States Congress to debate and decide what needs to be done. Followd by the inevitable Supreme Court decision. Not local and all to often correct or grudge bearing law enforcement who may want revenge because your BBQ sauce won the Blue Ribbon at the State Fair.


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