Image of woman wearing boxing gloves representing the fight in the recent U.S. vs Apple case
The Recent U.S. v. Apple Case in Context Part I

The Recent US v. Apple Case in Context (Part I)

Legislative questions

The larger question is what legislation the US and other nations have been applying to enable law enforcement and other government agencies access to data in criminal and national security instances where there is probable cause to search. In addition to the withdrawn San Bernardino case, research indicates that, for example, that the above-mentioned former police officer in the United States, charged in a child pornography case, has asserted his Fifth Amendment right (against self-incrimination in a criminal case) and is being held indefinitely in prison until he provides law enforcement access to his data. The UK has adopted similar policy in some cases, however a UK court recently adopted a contrary view in the case of Laurie Love, the British son of a Baptist minister who has been arrested and charged with hacking into the computer networks of the US military and NASA, causing millions of dollars of damage. Love, an activist in the Occupy movement, is alleged to have stolen “massive amounts’”of confidential information – including details of military servicemen – by breaking into thousands of computers.

The next installment of this three part series (in our June newsletter) will discuss preliminary research about just what these ongoing court battles mean to countries in Asia and beyond.


1  Passwords for older iPhones can be cracked, but newer ones are designed with a greater degree of encryption and the phones might have to be redesigned to enable law enforcement access to phones with newer operating systems.

2…phone_Encryption_Public_Safety__11182015.pdf, November 2015 [last accessed 5/10/2015]

3 9.

4  Joji Thomas Philip, “BlackBerry maker Research in Motion agrees to hand over its encryption keys to India,” 8/2/2012; Steve Mansfield-Devine, Ed., “The Privacy Dilemma” February 2014, page 3 [last Accessed 5/5/2016]; Ron Deibert, “Cyberspace Under Siege,” Journal of Democracy, Volume 26, No. 3, July 2015 [last accessed 5/5/2016]

5  John Zorabedian, “The OTHER iPhone unlocking case – Judge sides with Apple,” Naked Security, 3/2/2016 [last accessed 5/11/2016]

6  In the Matter of the Search of Seized Items: Apple Mac Pro Computer, Apple iPhone 6 Plus Cellular Telephone, Western Digital My Book for Mac, External Hard Drive, Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor,Duo External Hard Drive, Supplemental Order, Mag. No. 15-850-2, U.S. Dist. Ct. E.D. Pa, Filed 10/5/2015; U.S. v. Apple Macpro Computer, et al. John Doe, Appellant, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Appeal No. 15-3537, Motion to Stay Order of Civil Contempt Pending Appeal; Brief of Amici Curiae Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union in Support of Movant-Appellant and Reversal, US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, US v. Apple Macpro Computer et al. Filed 4/6/2016.

7  See Rob Price, “Canadian police reportedly got hold of BlackBerry’s encryption key,” Business Insider UK, 5/14/2016 [last accessed 5/18/2016]

8  Spencer Ackerman, “Apple encryption case risks influencing Russia and China, privacy experts say,” The Guardian, 2/17/2016 [last accessed 5/18/2016]; “Provisions of China’s counterterrorism bill inspired by foreign laws: official,” Xinhua, 12/27/2015 [last accessed 5/18/2016]

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