Manhattan DA on Apple's encryption battle

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. weighs in on Apple's encryption battle with the government.

Manhattan DA: Apple's Decision Has Broad Consequences

By Business Leaders

During an interview on FOX Business Network’s After the Bell, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. explained why he believes it is important for Apple (AAPL) to legally unlock an iPhone.

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“I think the American people need to know that there are real and broad consequences following Apple’s decision to engineer its phone to be incapable of being opened with a search warrant,” Vance told David Asman.

The Manhattan district attorney, whose office has about 175 iPhones that it cannot access, said this is not just an issue between Apple and the federal government.

“I think the American people need to understand – and I think they would want to understand – that while we spend a lot of time recently talking about this issue in the context of the FBI and federal government, it’s in state courts… 95% of the cases in this country are handled in state courts and local courts, such as a district attorney’s office.”

But, Vance believes Congress will have to take action.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to solve this problem phone by phone, piece of litigation by piece of litigation,” he said. “I think Congress has to step in here. It has to assert its control over national security issues and the balance between privacy and public safety… and take that away because it’s effectively been outsourced to Apple and Google.”

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Vance, who says the “Fourth Amendment is the bulwark in our Constitution” on the issue of privacy versus national security, thinks there is one key question that needs to be asked.

“The question that the courts and Congress are going to have to ask is, ‘is it unreasonable for the government and courts to be able to access those devices when a court has determined there is probable cause, the evidence is there and gives a warrant to enforce the order?”

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