Apple wants to overturn government order to cooperate with FBI; Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter support the company

Apple wants to overturn government order to cooperate with FBI; Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter support the company

And we go to more developments of the case Apple vs. FBI

Testimony in Congress

James Comey (FBI director) and Bruce Sewell (senior vice president and general counsel for Apple) were asked to testify at a US Congressional hearing scheduled for March 1. Both, of course, will talk about cryptography and defend their views on the subject.

Comey speak on a first panel; Sewell is already speaking in a second, alongside Susan Landau (professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and Cyrus Vance (New York district attorney) NY is also at the center of the controversy, as the city's public security department is with nothing less than 175 iPhones that cannot be accessed due to encryption.

As we reported, the FBI wants Apple to create a new operating system without multiple security features to be installed on an iPhone 5c used by a terrorist who killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in San Bernardino, Calif. Apple, however, refused to comply with the request alleging that, once the tool was created, it could be used on any iPhone setting a huge precedent.

Taking into account that Apple wants to take the case to Congress and get it out of court, this seems to be good news for the company, at least strategically speaking.

Apple's defense

Apple has until tomorrow to officially respond to the government / FBI's request to create such an operating system without the security features. Today, however, the company has filed a lawsuit just to have the order removed.

The company's claim that the order is not authorized by current legislation and, moreover, unconstitutional. For Apple, this is not a case about an isolated iPhone, but about the Department of Justice and the FBI seeking, through courts, a dangerous power that Congress and the American people have refused to give.

Apple executives say that the government's demands in investigating the San Bernardino case were made without congressional approval, which contradicts the Barack Obama administration's position that no new legal authority involving cryptography should be created.

Apple also argues that the government's claim that the "GovtOS" (as the modified iOS that the government wants is called) can be used once and destroyed “fundamentally flawed”. In addition, as the company never created anything like this, he said that he is not able to accurately specify the time needed to create such a system, but he imagines that such government requirements would require significant resources and efforts. In the company's view, the design, creation, validation and deployment of the software would likely require six to ten Apple engineers, dedicating a good deal of their time, for a period of two to four weeks. The team members would include engineers from Apple's core operating system group, a quality assurance engineer, a project manager, and a document and / or tool writer.

Other companies in the industry supporting Apple

Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter have previously shown Apple support through statements. Now, however, all of Yahoo have pledged to join the fray as amicus curiae (in Portuguese, friends of the court; according to Wikipedia, an expression used to designate an institution whose purpose is to provide subsidies to court decisions, offering them a better basis for relevant and high impact issues).

All of them will enter next week with the request in court.

Important hiring in the area

Showing that you're not kidding in service, Apple just hired Frederic Jacobs.

It is a pleasure to announce that I accepted an offer to work with Apple's CoreOS security team this summer.

Jacobs was the developer of Signal (from Open Whisper Systems), one of the most secure messengers on the market, he worked directly with the app's encryption.

As there is a risk that Apple will lose this battle to the FBI, the company's idea would be to improve iOS security measures even further to the point that a device is so secure and Apple has nothing to do to help the FBI or other institutions in the future, even if they want to.

Jacobs said it will be a kind of internship at Apple, although the duration and responsibilities have not been revealed.

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If you haven't followed all the articles on the subject, here's the list:

We also discussed the case extensively in the last episode of our podcast, the On Air:


 on Air podcast cover

(via MacRumors, BuzzFeed News, TechCrunch, Re / code, Wired)