Apple Inc. and the FBI: Balancing Fourth Amendment Privacy Concerns against Societal Safety Concerns in the Digital Age

Author: Maxel Moreland, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

On December 2, 2015, two shooters opened fire and killed fourteen members of the San Bernardino, California community.[1] Within hours, the police had shot and killed the couple who carried out the horrendous mass shooting.[2] Once the threat had been eliminated, law enforcement and the general public needed information explaining how and why this tragedy occurred. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), current evidence suggests that the shooters had a potential link to Islamic extremism.[3] While the FBI has uncovered troves of information about the San Bernardino attack, the FBI claimed that it needed more information.[4]

The FBI wanted to compel Apple to create software that will break-in to the iPhone and circumvent security features.[5] To do this, the FBI wanted the judicial system to issue a writ that requires Apple to create this software.[6] Judicial authority should not be used in this matter, if the government wants technology companies to provide technological assistance to the government, Congress should pass a law.  No court should issue an order that requires a company to circumvent its own security features as the customer’s right to privacy should outweigh the perceived increase to safety. Continue reading “Apple Inc. and the FBI: Balancing Fourth Amendment Privacy Concerns against Societal Safety Concerns in the Digital Age”

The FTC: Cyber Security Savior or Data Dictator?

Author: Leanthony Edwards Jr., Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Throughout the past few years, data privacy and cybersecurity have become hot topics within the U.S. legal system and the media. Last year, prominent U.S. corporations like Sony and Home Depot suffered major data breaches that caused significant financial and reputational harm for both the companies and consumers. In response to the increase in massive data breaches, President Obama featured cyber security issues prominently in the State of the Union address.[1] Although getting data security on the national agenda was an important breakthrough, the U.S. may suffer in the near future as a result of Congress’s failure to allocate appropriate resources toward devising a legitimate data security strategy. With dubious legislative authority, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordained itself the regulatory authority responsible for policing data security policies within the United States. This article highlights two lawsuits brought by the FTC that depict this most recent power grab and illustrate why the FTC’s assumption of this data security role is troublesome.

Continue reading “The FTC: Cyber Security Savior or Data Dictator?”