DoJ to Apple: your software is licensed, not sold, so we can force you to decrypt


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Is there anyone at the DOJ that has a sense of perspective and knowledge of the law of unintended consequences? Or are they all too busy with enjoying the exercise of power?


Where does this leave Cyanogen, or anyone using the GPL? It is licensed but it is given away, and it is not explicitly licensed to an individual.

Perhaps Apple should transfer its software assets to an independent trust located in Switzerland which will pay Apple a royalty on every copy sold. Then the DoJ can tell Apple to demand that the Swiss operation co-operate, and the Swiss operation can say “nuts.”


I guess if I lease my car they can search that too…and the bank holds my mortgage so can they give permission to search the bank’s property?


Would any company be willing to risk the wrath of it user base by decrypting their data? That basically says that when push comes to shove, the encryption on their device is worthless. I hope that Apple makes a stand here. Even if Tim Cook has to go to jail for a month or two.


And the rest of us has become, in effect, Rifftrax for the worst live-action-role-playing event of the century.


The DOJ’s argument is compelling to me (not a lawyer).
Apple (et. al) can’t have it both ways.

They want to license the software, instead of selling it outright, in order to retain control.
DOJ suggests that retaining control means that they can be legally compelled to exert said control.
ie. by retaining ownership, they retain liability.

Yes, the privacy / security implications may be vast. But maybe it’s also an incentive for less abusive contracts between software vendors and consumers?


Drawback: “may be vast”

Benefit: “maybe an incentive for less abusive contracts”

Yeah, sounds like a great tradeoff.


finally, the age of linux on the desktop has arrived! I mean I will really make this argument at work.


Consider the implication behind DOJ’s argument:
Apple claims they do and do not own the software, simultaneously.

Either it’s a “license”, Apple owns the software, and Apple can be held liable.
Or the entire “license” apparatus is legalistically hogwash.

To me it seems like an important legal question to be answered.


I’m kinda with the DOJ on this one. I’m tired of being granted a license things that I have to pay for instead of owning them. I’m sick of being told it’s a crime to alter something I paid for because it’s not really mine. The first sale doctrine is a good idea and one I would like to apply to my ‘licensed’ content.
I’m old enough to remember buying software before the Microsoft license only model became popular and I’ve always hated that shift towards non-ownership. Perhaps the unintended consequences might be a good thing. If the licensor doesn’t want to be responsible for my copy, maybe they should just sell it to me and let me do with it as I please.


Strong crypto moots the question.


Umm, don’t we already know that they do this all the time?


No, it doesn’t make sense to me…

It’s not the software they’re being asked to decrypt, but the user’s data. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve borrowed your camera to take a photo; the photo is mine, not yours (in a copyright sense). The user’s data does not become property of the software licensor. Otherwise, every Word document ever made… Including the DoJ’s…

Of course, for services like iCloud, what you say is true. In this case though, they’re talking about a physical phone, not a service. So, the whole line of argument doesn’t make sense to me.


Well we’ve wanted to eliminate EULA’s for a long time, but I was hoping when it happened it would be to the betterment of all… not because the government wants help stealing my password.


Won’t matter. We’ll all still have to use IE at work, even if they have to run it through fucking WINE. You know this.


I haven’t had to use IE at work since the end of 2009.


Fucking hell.



Is that a rhetorical question? Why would you go work for the DOJ if amassing and abusing power wasn’t your most important goal in life?


People still use IE? I don’t even think I’m allowed to have IE on my work computer. Standard is Chrome, and Firefox is acceptable.