EFF, ACLU and Access Now issue joint statement supporting Apple in encryption fight

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Access Now have all come out in support of Apple in its ongoing encryption dispute with the FBI. In a joint statement, the three groups warn against the "disturbing" precedent the government has set in seeking to compel Apple to create a backdoor into its own products:

This is a fight that implicates all technology users. There are already bad actors trying to defeat the security on iPhones, and an FBI-ordered backdoor will only assist their efforts. Once this has been created, malicious hackers will surely increase their attacks on the FBI and Apple, hoping to ferret out clues to this entrance route—and they may well succeed.

The precedent created by this case is disturbing: it creates a new pathway for the government to conscript private companies into building surveillance tools. If Apple can be compelled to create a master key to unlock this iPhone, then little will prevent the government from ordering any company to turn its products into tools of surveillance, compromising the safety, privacy, and security of everyone.

The statement then goes on to call on President Obama and his administration to come out against efforts that could weaken encryption through backdoors or master keys:

We call on the Obama Administration to heed the advice of neutral security experts, engineers, and even his own advisors who have affirmed the dangers inherent in the order issued to Apple. We urge them to reject the calls of those who seek to undermine our security, whether through backdoors into our software, master keys to unlock our digital data, or pressure on companies to downgrade our security.

The statement filed by the ACLU, EFF and Access Now echoes many of Apple's own arguments in the case thus far, including the potential for setting a dangerous precedent regarding the extent of the government's ability to compel private companies to turn over sensitive information. This is the second time the EFF and ACLU have publicly expressed support for Apple in this case, with both companies having released separate, but similar statements in mid-February.

FBI vs. Apple