Apple, the world’s most profitable company, will face the Justice Department in a federal court hearing at Riverside, California. The meeting will decide whether the company should help the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in hacking an iPhone that allegedly belonged to a terrorist.
The court hearing on Tuesday will come just a day after the company’s special press event for the launch of the new, smaller iPhone, and a smaller version of the iPad Pro.
The issue between the Justice Department and the tech giant has been ongoing over the past few weeks, and neither side is giving in.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) March 20, 2016
Last month, the FBI asked a California judge to issue a court order requiring Apple to help the federal agency unlock the iPhone of Syed Farook, one of the two people responsible for the San Bernardino shooting in December that left 14 dead.
However, the Cupertino-based manufacturer refused to follow the order and instead filed a brief last week to oppose it. The company argues that following the court order would be creating a “backdoor” that could potentially allow anyone, whether it is the government or hackers, to break into an iPhone.
Federal District Court Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, who handed out the court order last month, will preside during the hearing.
In a legal brief submitted by the company, Apple said that the government’s “methods for achieving its objectives are contrary to the rule of law, the democratic process, and the rights of the American people.”
It also highlighted the issue as a part of a bigger concern – the fight for civil liberties and data privacy.
— Forbes Tech News (@ForbesTech) March 16, 2016
Aside from opposing the court order, the filing also includes a request for the court to drop the order because it may inflict “significant harm” to civil liberties and society.
Apple also said that the order to alter its product is a violation of its First Amendment Rights, citing that writing code is like making a speech.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department was quick to respond, saying that all three branches of the government have been entrusted to uphold the balance for its citizen’s rights, especially on privacy.
“The Constitution and the laws of the United States do not vest that power in a single corporation,” said spokeswoman, Emily Pierce.
In addition, the Department of Justice said that the request is for a single phone, and would not create a means to hack anyone, but allow the acquisition of evidence from a device “only when it has a warrant.”
Several other tech companies have expressed their support for Apple in its legal battle. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and a number of other companies have filed legal briefs as well to show their support.
Spurred by the Apple/FBI battle, Facebook, Google & WhatsApp are working on their own increased privacy tech: https://t.co/lBWReEcBYd
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) March 14, 2016
The legal battle is slowly turning out to be an all-out war between Washington and Silicon Valley concerning privacy and security, which has become a very popular point of debate in recent years.
In 2013, former CIA employee Edward Snowden made headlines around the world when he revealed that the U.S. government was collecting the personal data of its citizens. Since that time, the issue on security and privacy had gradually simmered but due to the current battle between Apple and the FBI, the issue is now back in the spotlight.
— CS Monitor (@csmonitor) March 11, 2016
In June 2014, Apple revamped its data encryption in its then-latest mobile platform version, iOS 8 for the iPhone. Unfortunately, the much-improved security has triggered red flags among agents in the FBI because the tech manufacturer closed an important “access point” that they have been using in extracting data from its devices.
[Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]