One of the most high-profile battles in the fight to ensure the security of our smartphones is currently underway, as Apple pushes back against a court order demanding the company cook up some new iOS code that would allow the government to bypass a number of key security features protecting the iPhone from prying eyes. Apple’s resistance to comply with the order has proved to be enormously controversial, though the company has found support from some of the biggest names in mobile tech. As Apple prepares to fight this action tooth-and-nail, the company’s retained the services of some of the biggest legal names in free-speech cases, and none too soon, as the Department of Justice files its own motion attempting to force Apple’s hand in the matter.
Since the creation of software has found protection as a form of speech, and the government is essentially trying to compel Apple’s role in writing new code that conforms to its wishes, there could be a case to be be made that forcing Apple to abide by this order would be an unconstitutional limit on the company’s freedom of speech. To that end, Apple’s retained Theodore Olson and Theodore Boutrous, both quite well versed in free-speech cases.
Meanwhile, the DoJ has got the FBI’s back, and today filed its own motion trying to compel Apple to create the software demanded of it.
As we mentioned last night, Apple now as until February 26 to respond to the initial order. Following that, we can look forward to a hearing on the matter in late March.