Digital Detectives
Digital Detectives

Edward Snowden's Legal Advisor Sides with Apple in FBI Battle Over Encryption

March 11, 201629 min
During the investigation of the San Bernardino shooting the FBI obtained a company iPhone that was used by Syed Farook, one of the assailants. The investigators obtained a warrant to search the phone, but it’s currently locked and the FBI hasn’t been able to access the encrypted data. This prompted the agency to request assistance from Apple to bypass the phone’s security features, but Apple has refused. Does the FBI have the authority to compel a company to re-engineer its own product in order to undermine the security of its own customers? In this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech Privacy and Technology Project Director and principal legal advisor to Edward Snowden Ben Wizner about the legal battle between Apple and the FBI. Wizner begins by explaining The All Writs Act and how it’s being used to coerce Apple, the FBI’s potential objectives in making this request, and what dangers might be present if the FBI prevails. The conversation then shifts to the global implications for all tech companies if the the precedent is set that Apple must aid in helping the FBI get the contents of this phone and what that might mean for the national security of the United States of America – and the privacy of its citizens. Wizner then gives some insights into what it has been like to be the principal advisor for Edward Snowden and what the case has been like for him as a lawyer.

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