Congratulations Apple! Kind of….

So the FBI and the Dept of Justice had it wrong… they didn’t need to compel Apple to write new code in order to hack an iPhone.  Apparently they didn’t exhaust all other possible remedies, even though that’s what they told a federal magistrate.  [Funny.  I thought, lawyers, aka officers of the court were required to tell the truth in court.  That’s part of the oath we take when we become lawyers. Maybe those prosecutors took a different oath?]  So someone out there knows how to hack an iPhone and shared the information with the government.  Information the government doesn’t have to share with Apple or anyone else.

Did Apple know their systems had this vulnerability?  If not, they are now in the embarrassing position of trying to figure out vulnerabilities in their own system.  And what are they going to do in the future?  Make systems that are even harder to hack?

Is Congress going to weigh in?  The All Writs Act, a law that is more than 200 years old, could use some updating to clarify whether it is applicable to modern technology.  When the All Writs Act was created there was no such thing as phones or even electricity.  Certainly guidance on the scope and extent of government power in the modern age would benefit everyone from lawyers and judges who work with the Act to companies who need to know what is expected of them.

The downside of the San Bernardino case not actually being decided is the legal field is left with little guidance on how to proceed.  There is an appeal pending out of New York in which a federal judge ruled the All Writs Act would not apply to this situation.  That case is still working its way through the courts.