Beckerman: “Encryption protects Americans and our infrastructure from countless daily attacks by those looking to do our nation harm. Strong encryption is security and safety online, and is a vital component of our national defenses.”
Washington, DC – Today, the Internet Association, along with CCIA, i2Coalition, and individual Internet companies, filed an amicus brief supporting Apple’s opposition to the government’s unlawful request that it build a special program to undermine the iPhone’s security protocols. The Internet Association is the unified voice of the Internet industry and the brief provides the industry’s perspective on the implications of the court’s order beyond a single device to the entire Internet ecosystem.
“The Internet industry respects the important role law enforcement plays in our society keeping Americans safe and has zero tolerance for terrorism on or offline. A government request that asks companies to engineer vulnerabilities into their products or services will harm national security and put user information at risk,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “In this case, a false choice is presented with privacy as one option and security as the other. Encryption protects Americans and our infrastructure from countless daily attacks by those looking to do our nation harm. Strong encryption is security and safety online, and is a vital component of our national defenses.”
“While the tech industry understands the government’s desire for information, and respects its mission to keep us safe, we hope the court appropriately weighs the wider issues of security and trust that are at stake in this case. If the court sides with the government’s unprecedented demand that Apple develop software to undermine critical security features, there will be dire implications for the public’s confidence in the integrity of the Internet, and more importantly for the security of the digital ecosystem,” said Ed Black, CCIA President & CEO.
“Privacy and security lay at the heart of the Internet. The customers of Internet infrastructure providers demand features that allow them to create private and secure businesses. The government’s position would undermine this ability. Because aspects of Internet infrastructure cannot be rearchitected to accommodate demands like those made on Apple, the security of the Internet as a whole will be fundamentally weakened,” said Christian Dawson, i2Coalition Executive Director.
The brief argues that the government’s request is an improper and unprecedented expansion of scope of the 1789 All Writs Act (AWA), a law that has never before been used to compel companies to create new technologies that undermine fundamental features of their businesses. Furthermore, the brief states that the FBI request is in direct violation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which limits government access to encrypted information.
“It is our position that there is no modern statute that allows the government to demand that any technology company build a Master Key to undermine its own encryption safeguards or other security defenses. The Internet sector looks forward to being part of this important national conversation,” concluded Beckerman.
The brief comes just days after a New York federal judge ruled in another case that the government cannot compel Apple to unlock another iPhone under the AWA.