There’s only one sure winner in this fight.
The FBI hearing over Apple encryption is now postponed, but one of the arguments in that case – as they Electronic Frontier Foundation advanced it – was that code is speech, and should be free speech:
The Supreme Court has rejected requirements that people put “Live Free or Die” on their license plates or sign loyalty oaths, and it has said that the government cannot compel a private parade to include views that organizers disagree with. That the signature and code in the Apple case are implemented via technology and computer languages rather than English makes no difference. For nearly 20 years in cases pioneered by EFF, the courts have recognized that writing computer code is protected by the First Amendment. In a brief from EFF and leading technology experts, we have told the court considering Apple’s case that forcing the company to write and sign a new operating system for the government is akin to the FBI dictating a letter endorsing backdoors and forcing Apple to sign its forgery-proof name at the bottom.
Here’s that brief:
Over at TechCruch, Greg Kumparak and Matthew Panzarino characterize – accurately – the reply brief from Apple in its encryption battle with the FBI as
cold and precise. Apple got some time to consider the best way to respond and went with dissecting the FBI’s technical arguments in a series of precise testimonies by its experts.
Where the FBI filing last week relied on invective, Apple’s this week relies on poking holes in critical sections of the FBI’s technical narrative.
Here’s an embed of the brief, well worth reading in full:
From the New York Times, on Apple’s probably response to the FBI’s current attempt to gain access to an iPhone’s data:
WASHINGTON — Apple engineers have begun developing new security measures that would make it impossible for the government to break into a locked iPhone using methods similar to those now at the center of a court fight in California, according to people close to the company and security experts.
If Apple succeeds in upgrading its security — and experts say it almost surely will — the company will create a significant technical challenge for law enforcement agencies, even if the Obama administration wins its fight over access to data stored on an iPhone used by one of the killers in last year’s San Bernardino, Calif., rampage. If the Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to get into a phone in the future, it would need a new way to do so. That would most likely prompt a new cycle of court fights and, yet again, more technical fixes by Apple.