Apple appeals order to unlock iPhone, says it would "violate the Constitution"

The company's lawyers argue it would set a damaging precedent and open the door to more government surveillance

Apple filed court papers on Thursday urging a judge to overturn her order requiring it to unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in last December's San Bernardino attacks.

Forcing it to help unlock the phone would set a dangerous precedent that would undermine security for all its customers and open the door to more invasive government requests in future, Apple argued.

"If Apple can be forced to write code in this case to bypass security features and create new accessibility, what is to stop the government from demanding that Apple write code to turn on the microphone in aid of government surveillance, activate the video camera, surreptitiously record conversations, or turn on location services to track the phone’s user? Nothing," the company's lawyers wrote.

The government has argued that the software it's asking Apple to create will be used on only this one phone. That's is not true, the company argued.

"The government says: 'Just this once' and 'Just this phone,'" the company's lawyers argued. "But the government knows those statements are not true; indeed the government has filed multiple other applications for similar orders, some of which are pending in other courts."

"Once the floodgates open, they cannot be closed, and the device security that Apple has worked so tirelessly to achieve will be unwound without so much as a congressional vote."

Prosecutors argue the data on the iPhone is necessary for the ongoing terrorism investigation. The information could help investigators find collaborators of the mass shooters, prosecutors argued.

Apple said it strongly supports the efforts of law enforcement, but that the government's request is unsupported by the law and would "violate the Constitution."

If the judge declines to overturn her order, legal experts have said the case could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags applefbi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?