Member News

DeVore & DeMarco Files Brief in Apple / Government iPhone Encryption Litigation

On March 3, 2016, DeVore & DeMarco joined a crucial, timely, and ongoing legal debate.  A debate about privacy and about security.  A debate about the power of the state and the power of a private corporation in the digital era.  On that date, on behalf of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the National Sheriffs’ Association we filed an Amicus Curiae “Friend-of-the-Court” brief in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in the Apple / Government iPhone Litigation.

As many of you are aware, on February 16, 2016, a federal court in Riverside, California, issued an Order requiring Apple to assist the FBI in its search of the iPhone used by one of the terrorists who perpetrated the ISIS-inspired attack in San Bernardino.  In particular, the Court required Apple to disable certain security features on that iPhone so that it could be searched by law enforcement without triggering crippling encryption on the device.  After receiving the Order, Apple announced that it would refuse to comply with the Order.  Litigation with the Government then ensued.

Amici’s brief supported the position of the Government.  Amici are deeply concerned that if Apple’s refusal to provide reasonable assistance to the Government is upheld it will cause cascading and rippling harms to the everyday investigation, prosecution, and enforcement of criminal laws.  These are not theoretical concerns.  Amici cite numerous, real-world examples of cases where data on iPhones (and nowhere else) proved crucial to bringing a criminal to justice, preventing crime before it happened and even exonerating the innocent.  Amici also explain how a ruling in favor of Apple would have a “chilling effect” on reasonable public assistance to law enforcement officials — assistance that, since the dawn of the common law, has been required of the citizenry.  DeVore & DeMarco is honored to be selected by Amici to lend our collective and multi-faceted experience to the Court’s resolution of the vital question before it and to participate in this historic case.

You can view the brief – here.

© DeVore & DeMarco LLP – a member of the EACCNY