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”

Amendment 1: How Tennessee Is Aborting a Woman’s Right to Privacy

Author: Stephen Doyle, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Hidden beneath the midterm’s senatorial supremacy sway lay various states’ inconspicuous ballot measures. A couple received some attention, primarily initiatives regarding marijuana legalization and minimum wage increases. However, one sweeping amendment to the Tennessee Constitution, Amendment 1,[1] has received very little attention outside of the state. The Amendment originated in response to a 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist,[2] which limited regulations the state legislature could impose on pregnancy prevention providers by subjecting the regulations to a strict scrutiny analysis. Now, after obtaining legislative approval twice[3] and 53% voter approval,[4] the Amendment is likely to be ratified and effectively overturn Sundquist, pending the dismissal of a suit alleging that the Amendment was not properly ratified.[5]

Continue reading “Amendment 1: How Tennessee Is Aborting a Woman’s Right to Privacy”