The Washington Post on Industry Support for Apple in Encryption Fight

Ellen Nakashima, writing for The Washington Post:

Former Justice Department official Jennifer Daskal said both sides are overstating their arguments. “The government is wrong to say this is just about one case,” said Daskal, a law professor at American University. “On the other hand, it is wrong to say that if Apple loses this case, there’s absolutely no limits to what the government can order a company to do” in cases involving encrypted communications.

This is false equivalence. The government really is wrong about this case being about just this one particular phone. But nobody (and certainly not Apple) is using words like “absolutely no limits to what the government can order a company to do” to describe what will happen if the government wins and sets precedent. The results will be significant, and I think chilling — but not limitless. This is just a bullshit quote to make the story sound “balanced”.

One argument that companies and civil liberties groups are expected to make is that if the government’s order is upheld, then the FBI might be able to order a technology firm to create, say, malicious software to send to a user’s device in the form of a routine update. “That is the third rail for tech companies — to be forced to deliver a software update that breaks the security of the device,” said Alex Abdo, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is also filing a brief in support of Apple.

This would be one of the worst case scenarios I can imagine.

Monday, 29 February 2016