12 Comments

  1. Daniel Epstein said:
    I believe you are misconstruing what Apple knew about the subpoenas reasons and their ability to push back. The White house pressed the Justice department for the investigation. The gag order prevented Apple from making this public until now. This was not a general request to change their product.

    “When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case.”

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    June 11, 2021
    • Daniel, As you say, the two cases are very different. I wanted to surface a strong statement of Apple’s support for the FBI and this quote turned up. In the context of San Bernardino, Tim Cook is contrasting the order to build a “backdoor” with normal, valid court-ordered subpoenas, to which Apple routinely complies. What I’m curious about is how much scrutiny Apple legal gives such subpoenas. They knew — or could easily discover — whose phones were under surveillance. My question is, did they push back? And if so, how hard? And that gag order they waited out, is that also routine?

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      June 11, 2021
      • Daniel Epstein said:
        Hi Philip, it is an interesting question as to how Apple can consider what is a valid subpoena when they receive it. The gag order makes it very problematic to know what they could do publicly. If the investigation has the correct legal authority then there seems to be little that Apple can do to disclose the issue without jeopardizing themselves and the investigation. Having correct legal authority does not mean the investigation is acting in good faith.
        Of course the real problem in this case is the Trump attitude towards power and law. The election put the Fox in charge of the Hen house. The pushback that might have been useful would have had to come from the Justice Department or Judicial system not Apple. The System which should have prevented this was not as strong as the people who figured out how to abuse it.

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        June 11, 2021
  2. At Ma Bell a legal dept scrutinizes requests for telco records from all manner of law enforcement. A filter is definitely applied, police officers asking for ex-wives phone records are quickly shooed away. Valid court orders, DOJ requests, search warrants, etc. get records very promptly. So fast one wonders about the scrutiny applied. Crooks apparently prefer ANOM app anyway. (No, telco does not have your long deleted texts. It’s like capturing the water over Niagara Falls. But phone taps or clones still exist.)

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    June 11, 2021
  3. David Emery said:
    The measure for any such action -should be- independent of the target, i.e. “If this was a subpoena for John Walker’s records https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Anthony_Walker, would it be treated the same?” Now there are some significant separation of powers questions when applied to Members of Congress. But in general, I’d expect Apple or any company legal staff to try to treat each request the same independent of the target.

    Cook: “We follow the laws for the companies in which we operate.”

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    June 11, 2021
  4. John Konopka said:
    I’m sure these things get vetted heavily by Apple’s legal department. I don’t know what legal recourse Apple has to defy a legal subpoena. Can their lawyers go back to the court and somehow argue against it?

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    June 11, 2021
  5. You can bet Apple will push back on government attempts to break it up. From a different perspective, an old retired broker suggested to me that if it looks like real legislative efforts to break up Apple might succeed, demand for pre-split shares would skyrocket. “The sum of Apple’s parts being valued more than the whole.” He doubts it will occur with Apple but stated Standard Oil shareholders profited handsomely.

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    June 11, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      Has anyone calculated the net worth of the companies spun off from The Bell System? Of course, those companies have made some bad business decisions since then (Verizon comes to mind 🙂 )

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      June 11, 2021
  6. David Drinkwater said:
    I can’t help but think that, as well as Tim Cook publicly comported himself with Donald Trump, there were some unpleasant private discussions.

    Imagine Donald Trump:

    “That’s a really nice company you have there. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.”

    And now we’ve got Biden and a bunch of wussy Democrats who won’t stand up and push back against that distorted history.

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    June 11, 2021

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