Apple Retains Free-Speech Attorneys


A filing was lodged recently in a California court. Apple has acquired the services of Theodore Olson and Theodore Boutrous as its lawyers to plead their case after they refused to unlock an iPhone 5c which belonged to a perpetrator in the last year’s San Bernardino shootings. They are prominent free speech lawyers and their presence could mean that Apple may base their case along this front. Reuters notes that Olson won the case arguing First Amendment rights was awarded the 2010 political free-speech case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Boutrous has previously worked with Apple as legal counsel, having taken the lead in the company’s front against antitrust monitoring imposed by the Department of Justice’s e-book price-fixing suit.

According to professionals in the field of law, the publication reports that Apple has set its sights on a U.S. Supreme Court decision from 1977 that was brought up by government officials to try and get the company to cooperate. This ruling referenced a reading of the All Writs Act of 1789 to which then helped them to mobilize a phone company to aid the police in a surveillance operation. Earlier this week Apple was forced to comply with requests from the FBI as ordered by Federal magistrate Judge. Apple had to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone 5c that was in the possession of the San Bernardino shooter, Syed Ryzwan Farook. This agreement entailed Apple making a special software to bypass the security of iOS 9 to gain access to the data.

This kind of case has turned up at the federal level before, where the issue of free speech was argued. We are pointing to a 1999 case heard by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court found that encryption methods fall under the umbrella of free-speech protection. Apple will file its response to the court order sometime this month. Apple was meant to file their response on the 23rd but their time was extended up to the 26th of February.

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