Apple lawyer warns FBI demands could lead to police state


Legendary lawyer Ted Olson has taken up Apple's case.
Legendary lawyer Ted Olson has taken up Apple's case.
Photo: CNN

Ted Olson, the legendary lawyer hired by Apple to represent it in the company’s battle against the FBI, warned that the government’s demand to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone will have wide ranging implications, and could possibly create a police state.

In an interview this morning, Olson said that if the FBI wins it would create an avalanche of requests from both federal and state courts to unlock iPhones in other cases that prosecutors believe may possibly contain evidence that could be used against the owner.

“You can imagine every different law enforcement official telling Apple we want a new product to get into something,” Olson told CNN. “Even a state judge could order Apple to build something. There’s no stopping point. That would lead to a police state.”

Olson explained that the constitution of the United States limits the ability of the government to invade citizens’ privacy and that the company is drawing the line on what it can request of companies.

“You as a private citizen are allowed to write on a piece of paper and then burn up that piece of paper where your notes are,” said Olson. “There are some limits to what the government can do. It is not Orwellian here, where Big Brother can see anything it wants.”

Asked how far this case will go and whether Apple would defy a Supreme Court order, Olson conceded that the end of the battle is still ‘a long, long way from that’ but that he can’t imagine Apple would defy a categorical ruling from the Supreme Court, which is where this case looks like its heading.

Deals of the Day

  • jch

    Ted Olson is also close in how this case impacts the families of terrorist attacks. IIRC his wife was on the plane that hit the Pentagon on 9/11. Pretty solid strategic hire by Apple.

  • JackThomasAZ

    We already live in a police state – bulk surveillance, the Patriot Act, and insufferable liberal fascist political correctness.

    • site7000

      Dems aren’t perfect on standing up to the security-industrial complex,
      but Repubs are awful. All of their candidates are on the FBI’s side of
      this, using the same misleading, inflammatory rhetoric as the government. The
      Patriot Act was stuffed down our throats by Dick Cheney & Co. The
      ACLU is generally regarded as “far left.” Judges who worry about defendant’s rights are always vilified as lefties. All in all, the left is far better about protecting civil liberties and privacy. Sorry about political correctness, I agree it’s overboard, but that’s cultural, not legal.

      • james braselton

        apple vhas miltry corperation and they have ato terorist wapons in use nd anti fbi wpoms being built right know appke cmdecler v war all thrwats aginst apple

  • Undivided

    And the fear mongering continues.

    • site7000

      Olson’s correct to paint this in big terms. This is a situation where the government is telling a private company that they have to do a considerable amount of work to create something that the government can’t manage on their own. So this order would require Apple to write all sorts of software just to render iOS “crackable.” Then of course every prosecutor for every government in the world would demand equal treatment “or you can’t sell here.” Totalitarian countries would love for the FBI to win this. The FBI doesn’t care what the impact will be on Apple customers or Apple’s sales. If you hate Apple, that sounds great. But it also means the government could then order ANY private company to do ANYTHING for the government without compensation. That, my friend, is totalitarianism. And that’s why this case is important.

  • Hein S

    Ted Olson really looks like a Lawyer.