The FBI’s assertion that the request to unlock the iPhone 5c of husband and wife terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik is a one-off request doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident.
The Wall Street Journal has found Apple has been directed to carry out similar actions in at least a dozen other cases.
FBI director James B Comey says, “The particular legal issue is actually quite narrow. The relief we seek is limited and its value increasingly obsolete because the technology continues to evolve.”
The FBI’s case is based on the use of the All Writs Act – a kind of legal ‘catch all’ that enables courts to direct someone to take an action that does not fit into any exisiting rules of law.
Clearly, accessing encrypted data from a personal device is not something that the law has kept up with.
Despite calls by presidential hopeful Donald Trump to boycott Apple products – ironically tweeted from his iPhone – Apple CEO Tim Cook’s letter to customers and a subsequent response to questions Cook has fielded regarding the matter are swaying opinion in the US.
Although Pew Research has released the results of research showing more than half of respondents support the FBI, the margin is slim – just 51 percent support the FBI. But I’d not be surprised to see that change as news of the FBI’s other requests starts to sway public opinion.