Apple Inc. and the FBI will meet in court Tuesday concerning a hotly debated issue over iPhone security, and whether the tech giant must comply with the U.S. government’s order to unlock a phone linked to one of the San Bernardino shooters.
The hearing is scheduled before Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of the Federal District Court for the Central District of California, according to The New York Times.
In mid-February, Apple released a statement calling the government’s orders “chilling” and “something we consider too dangerous to create.” Developing a technique to gain access to Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5C, the company said, would open up millions of other devices.
Farook’s device was a work phone owned by San Bernardino County, which consented to the search.
Following the death of the two shooters, two other phones linked to them were found destroyed, according to Agence-France Presse.
The U.S. government claims that the All Writs Act of 1789 justifies its authority. “Basically, it’s a sweeping legal gesture that gives courts the authority to issue orders compelling people to do things, so long as it’s for a legal and necessary reason,” according to Popular Mechanics.
Apple’s most recent brief on the issue reads, “The government attempts to rewrite history by portraying the Act as an all-powerful magic wand rather than the limited procedural tool it is.”
“According to the government, short of kidnapping or breaking an express law, the courts can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up,” the brief read later. “The founders would be appalled.”
Apple said the government’s order would in essence create a backdoor to the iPhone, and would leave other iPhones vulnerable should the technique fall into malevolent hands.
The public appears split on the issue. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, 50 percent of respondents think Apple should assist the government with unlocking the iPhone, while 45 percent think Apple shouldn’t help.
“The government’s motivation is understandable, but its methods for achieving its objectives are contrary to the rule of law, the democratic process, and the rights of the American people,” Apple’s recent brief read.
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