Lofgren Statement on Court Order to Decrypt Apple iPhone

February 17, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) issued the following statement regarding a federal judge's order for Apple to disable encryption on the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook:


"The order that Apple create a new operating system with a back door, using the 18th Century ‘All Writs Act,' is an astonishing overreach of authority by the Federal government.


"Apple, as do other technology companies, complies with lawful orders and warrants. But they are unable to deliver to the government what they do not have – in this case, a key to break into their operating system in the manner the FBI desires. It is astonishing that a court would consider it lawful to order a private American company be commandeered for the creation of a new operating system in response. 


"The issue of mandating back doors in encryption has been a topic of vigorous discussion in the Congress. The emerging consensus has been that creating back doors for the use of law enforcement, important as law enforcement is, would endanger Americans by generally weakening security. These weaknesses will inevitably be exploited by criminal hackers or foreign opponents. That a single magistrate should substitute her judgment for that of the duly elected President and Congress – that was already thoroughly engaged in the subject – is wrong as a matter of policy and of law.  


"Finally, should this order not be overturned, technology companies will have no choice but to further deploy robust encryption that would prevent their engineers from creating any system that would effectively open up previously deployed security measures.


"I urge the judicial branch to swiftly overturn this misguided ruling and further urge the Director of the FBI to refrain from seeking public policy decisions from the courts that are more properly decided by the Legislative branch of government."


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