Apple v FBI – Why this has nothing to do with terrorists



sourced from:,_or_against_us

You’re either with us, or against us

  • President George Bush, September 20, 2001
  • Hillary Clinton, September 13, 2001
  • George Orwell, “Pacifism and the War”, 1942
  • Benito Mussolini, October 27, 1930
  • Vladimir Lenin, 1900



Listings are now in reverse chronology. This will make it easier to keep up to date.



This Week, “Apple v FBI – Why this has nothing to do with terrorists”

The following is a timeline, as best as I could find, for the salient issues surrounding this critical case. Sources, links, documents are all included where possible. This is an important issue for all of us, and is an example of how the government can erode our rights by attacking vendors with whom we trust our personal information. While we personally can protect our information from unwarranted search and seizure, if the government can ask for root kits and jailbreaks from a vendor, they don’t even have to ask anymore.


March 10, 2016: The US Government filed in response to Apple’s motion to vacate. [FBI response to motion to vacate]

March 7, 2016: US Attorneys filed a request to the court in response to NY Magistrate Orenstein’s recent ruling. Their request advises the court to seek outside assistance, and reminds the court of the importance of this issue to the government. These issues were all carefully addressed in the Magistrate’s ruling. [Letter to Magistrate Orenstein]

March 6, 2016: Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post playing up the security implications of following through with the government’s demands.

March 5, 2016:  San Bernardino County DA filed an Amicus Brief in defense of the US Government. [San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Amicus Curiae Brief In Support of the United States Government]

March 3, 2016: A who’s who of technology leaders have been filing Amicus briefs in support of Apple, including Amazon, Box, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Facebook’s WhatsApp, Google, Google’s Nest, Microsoft, Mozilla, Pinterest, Slack, Snapchat, and Yahoo. Airbnb, Atlassian, Automattic, CloudFlare, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Mapbox, Medium, Meetup, Reddit, Square, Squarespace, Twilio, Twitter, and Wickr. [Amicus Brief from Airbnb, Atlassian, Automattic, CloudFlare, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Mapbox, Medium, Meetup, Reddit, Square, Squarespace, Twilio, Twitter and Wickr] [Amicus Brief on behalf of Amazon, Box, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, FaceBook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nest, Pintrest, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Yahoo]

March 2, 2016: The American Civil Liberties Union filed an Amicus Brief in favor of Apple. [Amicus Brief ED No. CM 16-10 (SP)]

March 1, 2016: Bruce Sewell, General Counsel and Sr. Vice President for Apple testified before a House Judiciary Committee meeting.



February 25, 2016: Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer confirms before Congress strong support for Apple, despite Bill Gate’s recent statements to the contrary. ( Microsoft supports Apple to Congress)

February 25, 2016: A day before the response date ordered by the court, Apple filed “APPLE INC’S MOTION TO VACATE ORDER COMPELLING APPLE INC TO ASSIST AGENTS IN SEARCH, AND OPPOSITION TO GOVERNMENT’S MOTION TO COMPEL ASSISTANCE” ED No. CM 16-10 (SP).[Apple files to vacate order]

February 24, 2016:  Time Cook, CEO Apple Inc speaks exclusively with David Muir of ABC News.


February 24, 2016: Theodore J. Boutrous, attorney for Apple, Inc., plans to challenge the use of the All Writs Act of 1789, and to claim that Apple’s 1st Amendment rights were infringed as a result of the court order. He will challenge jurisdiction and venue, arguing that an issue that directly affects the privacy and security of the American citizens is one that belongs in Congress.[Attorney Boutrous on Apple’s response strategy]

February 23, 2016: The government has hundreds of iPhones that they want Apple to decrypt. Despite claims to the contrary, a decision in the government’s favor will have sweeping, negative and oppressive ramifications on Apple, and subsequently to all technology companies in the US and around the world.[Hundreds of iPhones waiting to be decrypted]

February 23, 2016: Bill Gates, founder, Microsoft, took a defensive position regarding Apple’s resistance to comply with court orders.[Bill Gates speaking with CNN]

February 22, 2016: Tim Cook, CEO, Apple, sent an internal email that was leaked to TechCrunch, explaining the company position to staff.[Apple Internal Email]

Subject: Thank you for your support


Last week we asked our customers and people across the United States to join a public dialogue about important issues facing our country. In the week since that letter, I’ve been grateful for the thought and discussion we’ve heard and read, as well as the outpouring of support we’ve received from across America.

As individuals and as a company, we have no tolerance or sympathy for terrorists. When they commit unspeakable acts like the tragic attacks in San Bernardino, we work to help the authorities pursue justice for the victims. And that’s exactly what we did.

This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation, so when we received the government’s order we knew we had to speak out. At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties.

As you know, we use encryption to protect our customers — whose data is under siege. We work hard to improve security with every software release because the threats are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated all the time.

Some advocates of the government’s order want us to roll back data protections to iOS 7, which we released in September 2013. Starting with iOS 8, we began encrypting data in a way that not even the iPhone itself can read without the user’s passcode, so if it is lost or stolen, our personal data, conversations, financial and health information are far more secure. We all know that turning back the clock on that progress would be a terrible idea.

Our fellow citizens know it, too. Over the past week I’ve received messages from thousands of people in all 50 states, and the overwhelming majority are writing to voice their strong support. One email was from a 13-year-old app developer who thanked us for standing up for “all future generations.” And a 30-year Army veteran told me, “Like my freedom, I will always consider my privacy as a treasure.”

I’ve also heard from many of you and I am especially grateful for your support.

Many people still have questions about the case and we want to make sure they understand the facts. So today we are posting answers on to provide more information on this issue. I encourage you to read them.

Apple is a uniquely American company. It does not feel right to be on the opposite side of the government in a case centering on the freedoms and liberties that government is meant to protect.

Our country has always been strongest when we come together. We feel the best way forward would be for the government to withdraw its demands under the All Writs Act and, as some in Congress have proposed, form a commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy and personal freedoms. Apple would gladly participate in such an effort.

People trust Apple to keep their data safe, and that data is an increasingly important part of everyone’s lives. You do an incredible job protecting them with the features we design into our products. Thank you.


February 22, 2016: France 24 published a questionable story about Apple revealing security information (insinuating source code) to the Chinese government. [Apple and China on France 24]

Beijing Times Story



February 21, 2016: Attorney Stephen Larson, representing a group of family members of the attack victims, will file a motion to compel Apple to cooperate in March. [Stephen Larson’s statement to Reuters]

February 21, 2016: Richard Hu, CEO, Huawei, offered support for Apple, Inc. in a statement to Bloomberg [Richard Hu statement to Bloomberg]

February 21, 2016: James Comey, Director, FBI, posted a blog in defense of the government’s position against Apple.[James Comey on Lawfare]

February 20, 2016: Apple confirms that the icloud password was reset within 48hrs of seizure of the device, thereby eliminating the possibility of an icloud device backup. [San Bernardino county reset password]

February 20, 2016: The FBI came forward and admitted — in a statement it emailed to Ars Technica writer Cyrus Farivar — that “the FBI worked with San Bernardino County to reset the iCloud password on December 6th, as the county owned the account and was able to reset the password in order to provide immediate access to the iCloud backup data.” [FBI icloud reset letter]


February 19, 2016: Apple confirms that the icloud password was reset within 48hrs of seizure of the device, thereby eliminating the possibility of an icloud device backup. [San Bernardino county reset password]


February 19, 2016: The San Bernadino County Twitter feed was updated with this post.


February 19, 2016: “Boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number,” Trump said at a campaign event in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. “It just occurred to me.”


February 18, 2016: Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter, provided a statement of support.


February 17, 2016: Reform Government Surveillance (AOL, Apple, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo) published a statement affirming that “technology companies should not be required to build in backdoors to the technologies that keep their users’ information secure.”[Reform Government Surveillance Statement]

February 17, 2016: Sundar Pichai, CEO Google, publicly offered support and a position statement.

Here is his five-tweet comment:


February 17, 2016: Senator Ron Wyden defended the position taken by Apple.


February 17, 2016: Senator Tom Cotton accused Apple (of) chos(ing) to protect a dead ISIS terrorist’s p‎rivacy over the security of the American people. [Statement by Senator Tom Cotton]

February 17, 2016: Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, says he disagrees with FBI Director James Comey that the government should have backdoor access to encrypted files.

February 16, 2016: “Answers to your questions about Apple and security” from Tim Cook, CEO, Apple, Inc. [Answers to your questions about Apple and security]

February 16, 2016: “A Message To Our Customers” from Tim Cook, CEO, Apple, Inc. [A Message To Our Customers]

February 16, 2016:ORDER COMPELLING APPLE INC TO ASSIST AGENTS IN SEARCH” signed by US Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym. Case No. ED 15-CR-0451M. [Order Compelling Apple to Assist]

February 16, 2016: United States of America filed “Government’s Ex Parte Application for Order Compelling Apple Inc to Assist Agents in Search”  Case No. ED 15-CR-0451M. [US Ex Parte Application for Order]

December 3, 2015: US Magistrate Judge David Bristow signs the search warrant for a black Lexus iS300. Attachment A2 references the procedures for collecting and handling of digital evidence. Case No. ED 15-CR-0451M. [Search and Seizure WarrantAttachment A: Search and Seizure Warrant]

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Passcode Lock (IOS HACKER)

We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.  Tim Cook, CEO Apple



Apple’s attorney is correct when he asserts that this matter belongs in Congress. A country is polarized more on this issue than the presidential candidates. Everyone has an opinion, and it affects all of us. Let our representatives act on our behalf to protect us first. Safety, security, catching the bad guys – all critically important. However, we cannot give away our liberties, we will never get them back.

Benjamin Franklin for the Pennsylvania Assembly in its Reply to the Governor (11 Nov. 1755)






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