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ALCU: The FBI vs. Apple Case has Global Implications

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ALCU's Anthony Romero tells CNN Money's Laurie Segall why they stand behind Apple in their fight against the FBI. "You have to think of the dissidents in China, the dissidents in Iran who rely upon the iPhone as a way to talk about human rights and democracy and the rule of law. And if the U.S. Government could force Apple to create a back door into the iPhone here then what's to stop the Chinese or Iranians requiring this very same backdoors so that they could hack into the iPhone's of their human rights activists. Those are the global implications."


In the bigger picture, China has already adopted new rules that could require Apple to build a back door in the future. So it's not only the U.S. that thinks a back door is needed in software. In January 2015, The New York Times reported that "The Chinese government has adopted new regulations requiring companies that sell computer equipment to Chinese banks to turn over secret source code, submit to invasive audits and build so-called back doors into hardware and software, according to a copy of the rules obtained by foreign technology companies that do billions of dollars' worth of business in China."


It was also reported earlier today in Europe that "Brazil jails Facebook executive for refusing to share WhatsApp data." Facebook has called the arrest of its Latin America vice president "extreme and disproportionate". Diego Dzodan, an Argentine national, was detained after repeatedly refusing to comply with court orders to hand over data for use in a criminal investigation into drugs trafficking,


Judge Marcel Maia Montalvao has on two previous occasions issued fines against Facebook for refusing to release WhatsApp data. The information, he said, was needed as part 'secrete judicial investigations involving organised crime and drug trafficking."


So yes, the global implications are real. Yet at some point in time governments around the world could very realistically begin banning smartphones and apps form entering their country should they be designed in such a way that they can't be accessed by law enforcement through traditional court orders. Back in November we posted a report titled "New UK Law to Forbid Apple & Google from Creating Encryption that Can't be Opened for Law Enforcement or Spy Agencies."


The report noted that "Officially, measures in the new Investigatory Powers Bill will place in law a requirement on tech firms and service providers to be able to provide unencrypted communications to the police or spy agencies if requested through a warrant."


In the end, Apple is taking on the government and is gathering support from all corners of the country including Judge James Orenstein from New York's Eastern District who ruled against the DOJ's drug investigation that was trying to force Apple to open an iPhone. Yet at some point in time should international pressure lock out iPhones in the market place outside of the U.S., it's hard to see Apple allowing their business to be destroyed on principle alone. How far will Apple take this fight? Only time will tell.


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