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Susan Crawford: ‘The Law Is Clear: The FBI Cannot Make Apple Rewrite Its OS’

Harvard Law professor Susan Crawford, who served as Obama’s special assistant in 2009:

The president — our Law Professor in Chief — has to know the DOJ is on shaky ground. He’s probably got this rule of statutory construction rolling around in his mind as he watches college basketball this week: Specific statutes trump general ones. Generalia specialibus non derogant.

Nonetheless, the president has chosen his I Get Terrifying Briefings Every Day hat. It’s understandable. Who will blame him for protecting us? He’s worried about something awful happening. It’s just that increasingly hard-to-hear rule of law alarm bell going off again.

The DOJ is arguing that the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) should not apply, when clearly it should. And they’re arguing that the All Writs Act should apply, when clearly it shouldn’t. The more I read about it, the stronger Apple’s legal argument looks.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016