see url: https://cryptome.org/2016/02/usg-apple-001-009.pdf
May I suggest that a reading of this case is very important, for those of our colleagues who are interested or have an interest in this area. It is breaking new ground and isn't quite what a lot of people think. Apple Corp is being compelled by the court to help the FBI to get access to the data on Farook's phone...and I don't see how Apple can avoid it...and it is a very difficult case to argue against because of the issues involved.
And the way in which it is being done, is not necessarily the way that hacking is traditionally viewed. The FBI is not asking Apple to hack into the phone. They are not asking for Apple to give them their copyrighted software, or a copy, or a hacking file or bit of software, so that they can hack into every Apple phone willy nilly. They are not asking Apple to introduce a "back door" through which law enforcement can penetrate. They are asking Apple to make available to them the data on Farooks phone by removing the erasing facility which Apple says automatically switches on after 10 failed attempts and destroys the data permanently. The FBI are willing to make the phone available in a secure room of Apple's choosing, with Apple engineers doing the necessary using their own Apple software so that the FBI can then attempt to break into the phone remotely, using whatever decryption or password cracking tools they have. This means that the Apple engineers don't need to know what is on the phone and that the software Apple uses to overcome the erasure software, stays in their hands. On this, the FBI has the full support of the USG. Now, whether Apple will or can appeal it to a higher court, and win, or on what grounds, I don't know.
The reason they are asking this, is because the back up to Farooks phone was last done on October 19th which was some time before he committed his act of terrorism, and they wish to find out if anyone else was involved in the plot. The data which is stored in the cloud has shown them that it is indeed password protected. They are using the All Writs Act which overcomes a lack of specific law granted by Congress, and which has been given legal validity in previous cases. Brings up the old general warrant cases, which undermines the Constitution, but in a new way under new circumstance.
Now, there are a lot of side issues which come into this...and let me say, in my humble opinion, those who wish to argue against what the USG is doing, are going to find it very difficult to justify a case against...certainly not without examing the issues on both sides very carefully.
And please...don't have a go at me...before reading the law report...There are a lot of other issues in this case which have come to the fore, much of what we have been discussing here over the last year or two...and the US government is making a very practical and theoretical case why they should have access...and it is the silly season in US politics with a lot of arseholes squeaking as they vie for political supremacy.
What I will say is what I have been saying for a while. Give any kind of criminal leeway to hide their crimes and those bent on criminal endeavours will take the opportunity to do so. Give them secure, unencrypted, uncrackable, unhackable, anonymous communications, and they will use them. It comes back to where the authorities have a duty to prevent, prosecute and find evidence of guilt so as to protect the citizenry and the individual rights of citizens to pursue their every day personal and private business without the state interfering with it, or them outside of the law...and the balance between this and the pursuit of criminal activity.
This case is NOT about the illegal collection through mass surveillance, mass spying, or mass monitoring or mass storing of communications by the US state against the citizens and organisations which exist in their society
Modern communications, and the internet, has turned traditional rights to privacy and individual and collective security and law enforcement on its head...and, personally, I don't know the answer...but if there is a chance of catching any accomplices of Farooks, and this method discovers it, I don't see what harm has been done to individual rights, by granting such legal and limited access to Farooks phone. The warrant does not apply to anyone elses phone.