The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
It is not often that a legal battle over smartphone firmware captures the national imagination, but such is the case as the FBI tries to access the data contained on suspected San Bernadino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone. The feds want Apple to help it break into the phone, under the authority of an obscure 1789 law called the All Writs Act. Thus an ancient statute meets an icon of the digital age. This odd pairing is strangely appropriate, as the Apple case, and others like it, will help to determine whether our hard-fought gains in civil liberties will survive today’s technology.
Apple’s celebrated fight with the FBI over the security of its encrypted iPhones has shone the spotlight on an old and obscure federal law from 1789 known as the All Writs Act (AWA).
The AWA is a short little statute, giving federal courts the power to “issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.”
On February 10, 2016, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission convened a Congressional briefing devoted to the topic of advancing accountability for the commission of international crimes in Iraq and Syria.
Last week’s big cybersecurity news was that the FBI obtained a court order to force Apple to develop new software that would bypass several iPhone security features so the FBI can attempt to unlock the work phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple plans to challenge that order. (Full disclosure: I am planning on writing a technologists’ amicus brief on Apple’s side in that challenge.)
For nearly three decades, the government of Sri Lanka fought with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but after years of resistance, the new government has committed to launching a genuine transitional justice program to address, and redress, the grave international crimes committed by all sides during the conflict.
One would think privacy was a concept that Justice Antonin Scalia disliked. After all, how could a textualist, who firmly believed in lawyers’ obligation to follow the text, respect a concept as nebulous and blurry edged as privacy? A concept whose very meaning continues to befuddle lawyers, political philosophers and social scientists more than a century after it was introduced into legal jargon by Louis Brandeis, another Supreme Court giant to come?