Apple vs. FBI

Posted by Jessica Travis in Criminal Law Blog











 Apple vs. FBI

By Jessica Travis on Monday, March 28, 2016

Apple’s recent refusal to unlock a cell phone for the FBI has created a lot of discussion in the news and throughout social media. The FBI requested that Apple create a new operating system that would allow the government to access the contents of the San Bernardino shooter’s phone. The government has been unsuccessful at unlocking the phone, and are still trying to account for about fifteen minutes of the killer’s activity on the day of the terrorist attack. The FBI claims this information is vital to protecting American citizens as they are trying to ensure that every possible terrorist suspect is caught and apprehended before they can harm anyone.

Apple argues that by writing a program that gives the government a backdoor to access cell phones is a violation of the First and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution, violating our right to free speech and the right to avoid self-incrimination. It would also go against decades of security advancements that protects Apple’s customers. Apple said the requested new operating system would

essentially be “a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks.”

Other technology giants from Silicon Valley are praising Apple for standing up to the government, and have been making public and social media statements about the situation. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have all been rumored to be preparing to file amicus briefs on this matter. Amicus briefs are documents filed with the court by persons, or in this case companies, with strong interests and viewpoints on the subject matter at hand.

Why are Apple and the other technology giants against giving the government access to this one phone to help fight terrorism? What the government is asking for is its own special operating system that has a backdoor to get around the security encryption of cell phones, allowing the government access to all of the personal and private information stored on the phone. Apple is concerned that by creating this software for the government to use “this one time” will open the door, for the government to search phones in the future. Apple claims this could potentially allow the government to access cell phone camera and microphone features without the owner even knowing.

Apple is also concerned that if, once created, the software got into the wrong hands, it could be potentially dangerous to their customers. It could potentially expose all of their customer’s information; including pictures, contacts, health and financial information, and where they have been, and where they are likely to go.

It is important to remember, that amid all of the news and social media hype on this subject, here in Florida, police can search your phone, but only after obtaining a search warrant. This means that if you are arrested with your phone on you, and the police believe that phone contains some kind of evidence against you, police can take your phone, and hold it until a warrant can be obtained. Once they

have the warrant, they are free to search your phone to find evidence that could be used against you.

It is important to remember that everything you have in your phone can be found by law enforcement and used against you, even photos and messages that you may have deleted. These same rules apply to anything you post on social media. Law enforcement officers are always searching social media sites for signs of illegal activity and often use what they find as evidence.

If you find yourself in a situation where law enforcement has taken your phone or other electronic devices, you need to contact an experienced attorney to help you defend yourself. With the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney, who is knowledgeable in this aspect of the law, your rights can be upheld.

co-authored by Patricia Blotzer

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