Apple has pushed back against the government which is controversially compelling them to create a version of iOS which will allows the government to hack into the phone of the San Bernardino shooter.
Apple have filed a lengthy argument in court challenging the basis on which the FBI are trying to their hand.
They are arguing that the All Writs Act, a law which has been around since the 1700s, cannot be enforced yet. The Act compels people or organisations to assist the courts to execute a court order, as long as it isn’t unreasonably burdensome, or, crucially, if there is no other way for the order to be carried out.
In this case, Apple is arguing that “The government has failed to demonstrate that the requested order was absolutely necessary to effectuate the search warrant, including that it exhausted all other avenues for recovering information,” as Apple’s lawyers wrote in the motion to vacate the court’s order.
It is a bit odd, for example, that the National Security Agency (NSA) haven’t cracked the phone and accessed the records that the court wants.
The dark interpretation of this is – as Chris Soghoian, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said – that the FBI wants to set a precedent for this kind of cyber investigation, opening the way for the future.
Apple also stated that the FBI’s own inadequacy is a major reason as to why the data wanted is not available. Without consulting the company or reviewing the public guidance regarding iOS, the FBI changed the iCloud password associated with the iPhone in question, and so it couldn’t be made to do a backup.