Apple-FBI Fight Asks: Is Code Protected as Free Speech?

""The signature is part of Apple’s security ecosystem; it’s a promise that Apple believes this code is safe for you to run," said Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society. "The phone doesn’t run software that Apple hasn’t signed."

“This debate is so important and it’s critical that we get it right,” said Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Leaning too heavily on a First Amendment argument, though, is overly simplistic and detracts from Apple’s otherwise compelling case, Richards said.

“The argument is if all software is speech and all data flows are protected, then everything we do with communication is protected, and any regulation of the digital society becomes impossible,” said Richards, who sides with Apple in this case. “If we’re not careful we could end up a society that strikes a terrible balance.""