Apple, Inc. v. Federal Government

Apple Inc.’s dispute with the federal government over access to a passcode-protected iPhone seems to hold a little interest for everyone.

The case strikes at the heart of the debate over privacy and security, posing what FBI Director James Comey has described as “the hardest question I’ve seen in government.” (And he’s seen a lot, one assumes.) Add to that a centuries-old law, one of the largest companies on earth and the deadliest terrorists attack on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Apple plowed into another area of contested law on Thursday: whether and to what extent computer programs are protected speech under the First Amendment.

The company is challenging a Feb. 16 ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ordering the company to help investigators bypass a security passcode function on the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook. Along with his wife, Mr. Farook shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., in December.

Apple says in its latest brief that the order violates its First Amendment rights against compelled speech. The arguments build on a string of older cases. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which would hear any appeal from Apple, held that computer code was protected expression in a 1999 case that could loom large in the iPhone dispute.

Excerpt from article written by Joe Palazzolo. To read more go to http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2016/02/26/apple-fight-could-flesh-out-first-amendment-protections-of-computer-programs/

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