Apple Wins Major Court Victory Against FBI in a Case Similar to San Bernardino

Glenn Greenwald and Jenna McLaughlin, reporting for The Intercept:

Judge Orenstein applied previous legal decisions interpreting the AWA and concluded that the law does not “justif[y] imposing on Apple the obligation to assist the government’s investigation against its will.” In a formulation extremely favorable to Apple, the judge wrote that the key question raised by the government’s request is whether the AWA allows a court “to compel Apple — a private party with no alleged involvement in Feng’s criminal activity — to perform work for the government against its will.”

The court ruled that the law permits no such result — both because relevant law contains limits on what companies like Apple are required to do, and because Congress never enacted any such obligations. Moreover, the judge said of the government’s arguments for how the AWA should be applied: “The implications of the government’s position are so far-reaching — both in terms of what it would allow today and what it implies about congressional intent in 1789 — as to produce impermissibly absurd results.”

This seems like great news for Apple and supporters of civil liberties in this case.

Read Orenstein’s decision here.

Monday, 29 February 2016