EFF in the News
As Apple faces its big battle with the FBI, Electronic Frontier Foundation executive director Cindy Cohn warns consumers that they should be aware that any information they give to companies could someday be sought by the government.
Cohn said she is glad that companies are coming together to support Apple.
"It ultimately may raise some hard questions for them about how much information they need to collect, and how they secure it, and how long they keep it," she added.
But Stephen Vladeck, an expert on national security law at American University, told Quartz that it’s Apple as a corporation, and not Cook himself, that is potentially liable to a contempt charge. Lee Tien, a privacy lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, agrees that Cook himself doesn’t appear to be at risk, but that, in the event that Apple were charged with contempt, it could be subject to stiff fines. Tien notes that Yahoo has said that, in 2014, the US government threatened the company with $250,000-a-day fines in a surveillance case.
And if the government wants to read encrypted text message sent through an app such as Telegram — reported to be popular with ISIL — the FBI’s silence suggests there’s nothing to look at, said Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “I’m guessing if the phone did have Telegram installed, they would be shouting that from the rooftops,” he said.
"Almost everything in TPP is kind of ripe for a challenge under ISDS," said Maira Sutton, a global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in reference to approximately 9,000 multinational corporations that would be empowered to bring suit against the federal government under the treaty's terms.
Nate Cardozo, attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation: "Once Apple makes this software, once Apple gives the FBI this skeleton key for this one device for this one investigation, it will open the floodgates."
“You cannot build a lock that only good guys can turn the key for,” said Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties organization.
The federal government has argued that the battle over whether Apple should help unlock the iPhone 5c belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook — one of the shooters in the attack on the Inland Regional Center — is limited to the one particular phone. But Cohn said the constant calls for access from local police agencies actually undercuts that argument and highlights the far-reaching privacy implications of the tilt between Apple and the FBI.
“Law enforcement doesn’t just want this for terrorist cases,” she said. “They want it for every case.”
Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation also said she supports the company and planned to file an amicus brief in support. “It’s wrong for the government to force a company or a coder” to write code that weakens security, she said. The issue is about “our safety and government overreach.”
"Apple is exactly right to draw attention to the boundless nature of what the government wants," Andrew Crocker, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars.
"It can't in one breath claim this is just about one phone but suggest that the All Writs Act places no limits on how much tech companies can be compelled to reengineer their products. You can expect to see these arguments, particularly the constitutional ones, be developed further in the amicus briefs supporting Apple."
According to Mark Jaycox at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Franken is “one of a handful of senators who shows he understands tech issues,” and made it clear he hopes the senator will play a leading role. “I expect [Franken] to speak up on these issues because of his deep knowledge.”
Bloomberg Law Brief with June Grasso. Andrea Matwyshyn, a law professor at Northeastern University, and Nate Cardozo, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, discuss the ongoing dispute between Apple and the U.S. Government, which presses on as Apple continues to fight back against a court order requiring it to write software that would help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Now, Apple is planning to argue that the computer code in their devices is a unique creative work that should be protected by First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They spoke with Bloomberg Law hosts June Grasso and Michael Best on Bloomberg Radio’s "Bloomberg Law."