DOJ To NY Court: Hey, Can We Have Another Judge Look Over That Ruling About Breaking Into iPhones?

from the because-of-course dept

This is hardly a big surprise, but the Justice Department is not at all happy about NY magistrate judge James Orenstein's decision last week in the case against accused drug trafficker Jun Feng, that it cannot force Apple to break the security on an iPhone using the All Writs Act. While so much of the attention concerning iPhone encryption has been placed on the case in San Bernardino, the NY case made news well before the California case, and Orenstein was clearly aware that his ruling would have a much wider impact (and it was clearly written with that intent in mind). The Justice Department, of course, is now, in effect asking for a second opinion on the issue, carefully trying to position this case as something quite different than the San Bernardino case. In particular, the Justice Department is claiming that since this particular iPhone is using iOS 7, rather than 8, Apple already has a backdoor, and can easily unlock the contents of the phone.

To be clear, the DOJ probably does have a stronger argument in this case than it has in San Bernardino, but it's still got some serious problems.

The FBI/DOJ has been going around spreading misleading claims about how Apple has readily complied with similar orders to the San Bernardino order in the past. As we've noted, that's not actually true. The earlier orders involved earlier versions of iPhones where Apple did have easy access to opening up those phones -- and the San Bernardino case was different because it used a more modern version of the operating system, where it did not have such access. The DOJ's argument in NY is that this case is basically like the earlier cases since iOS 7 doesn't have the same strong encryption as later versions.
This is a routine application asking the Court to order a third party to assist in the execution of a search warrant. The Department of Justice has made the same application, for the same assistance, from the same company, dozens of times before. Federal courts around the nation have granted these applications. The company has complied every time. Until now.

In mid-2014, law enforcement agents arrested Jun Feng on charges related to his participation in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy. Agents conducted a search of Feng’s home, pursuant to a warrant, and seized an Apple iPhone 5s running iOS 7. The government subsequently obtained a warrant to search the phone. The government is unable to access the data on the phone, however, because the phone is locked with a passcode. The government cannot bypass the lock screen without risking data destruction. Apple can. Apple has extracted data from iPhones like this one pursuant to All Writs Act orders numerous times, including as a result of orders issued in the Eastern District of New York. Apple has confirmed that it can do so again, in this case, with this phone, and that doing so would pose no significant burden to the company.
As an aside, the DOJ also points out that because someone has activated the "remote wipe" feature on Feng's phone, it's afraid to even turn on the phone, as that might destroy whatever is on the phone -- and claims that this service "can interfere with execution of a warrant."

To strengthen its argument, the DOJ points out that Apple's own law enforcement guidelines notes that it can access data on devices using iOS 7 or earlier. But the DOJ is (shocker!) not being entirely accurate. Here's the way the DOJ explains it:
Apple states in its Legal Process Guidelines, which Apple makes publicly available online and provides to law enforcement to this day, that “for iOS devices running iOS versions earlier than iOS 8.0, upon receipt of a valid search warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause, Apple can extract certain categories of active data from passcode locked iOS devices.” See “Extracting Data from Passcode Locked iOS Devices,” Apple Legal Process Guidelines § III(I) (last accessed Mar. 2016), http://www.apple.com/privacy/docs/legal-process-guidelines-us.pdf, attached hereto as Exhibit D. Apple’s guidelines also express a preference for specific language to be included in the order directed to it and how such an order should be served. Id. Apple states in its guidelines: “Once law enforcement has obtained a search warrant containing this language, it may be served on Apple by email . . . . After the data extraction process has been completed, a copy of the user generated content on the device will be provided.”
That sounds kind of damning... until you actually click the link the DOJ provides and read what Apple actually says. Because it's not what the DOJ claims. In fact, the Apple law enforcement guidelines makes it clear that while, yes, it can access some data on versions of iOS before iOS 8 that does not include information encrypted via a passcode. Here's the full paragraph which the DOJ carefully quoted above, and we'll highlight the relevant section that the DOJ conveniently left out:
For iOS devices running iOS versions earlier than iOS 8.0, upon receipt of a valid search warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause, Apple can extract certain categories of active data from passcode locked iOS devices. Specifically, the user generated active files on an iOS device that are contained in Apple’s native apps and for which the data is not encrypted using the passcode (“user generated active files”), can be extracted and provided to law enforcement on external media. Apple can perform this data extraction process on iOS devices running iOS 4 through iOS 7. Please note the only categories of user generated active files that can be provided to law enforcement, pursuant to a valid search warrant, are: SMS, iMessage, MMS, photos, videos, contacts, audio recording, and call history. Apple cannot provide: email, calendar entries, or any third-party app data.
Notice the section I've bolded? Apple says it can't extract information that is encrypted using a passcode. Seems notable that the DOJ left that part out. Of course, from the rest of the paragraph, it's possible to read that to mean that there's a lot of information that is not encrypted by the passcode -- including SMS, iMessage, MMS, photos, call history and more. So, the DOJ's claim on that kind of information may be much more valid.

On the whole, though, the DOJ does have a point that, given the version of the iOS on this phone, the "burden" placed on Apple is likely quite different in this case, rather than in other cases, where the security features are more advanced. And it may be more accurate that this case is a lot more like previous cases where Apple willingly complied with warrants and All Writs Act orders. Of course, just because it has complied in the past, that does not mean those orders are legal. And Apple's response will likely highlight that fact. Apple, of course, has the right to do what it's done in past cases, and then later decide that the All Writs Act is inappropriate in such cases -- and then to ask a judge to rule on that.

Even then, however, the DOJ's arguments seem... questionable. As EFF lawyer Kurt Opsahl points out, early on in the filing, the DOJ cites a Florida district court's order on a motion to quash in a case called United States v. David Zaragoza, claiming that it shows that courts can force Apple to help via the All Writs Act. However, if you actually read that ruling, it rejects Zaragoza's attempt to toss out an All Writs Act claim, but says that Apple has standing to object to such a demand:
In this case, the party bestpositioned to oppose, or to choose to not oppose, the AWA Order is Apple, because Apple bears the burden to comply with that order. Furthermore, Apple is the only party that can inform the court of highly-relevant facts–such as the amount of effort that is required to unlock and obtain information from the iPhone and the extent to which complying with the order would interfere with Apple’s daily operations.
That seems like an... odd case to argue says that Apple has to comply with All Writs Act demands, doesn't it? It's almost as if the DOJ expects that no one will read any of the stuff it cites.

Still, given the situation (a phone using iOS 7), this case is a lot less of a slam dunk than it might be on a more modern iPhone. And, of course, there's an argument that that's what the DOJ is banking on. If it can get the order here, it can then leverage that into other cases, such as the one in San Bernardino, where it can just turn around and say "well, if the order is valid for iOS 7, why isn't it valid for iOS 8?" Apple, of course, would then have a response concerning the "burden" on iOS being much greater due to the different security framework, but by then you're already arguing it at the level the DOJ prefers -- on the question of burden, rather than the question of whether or not the All Writs Act itself is applicable in these scenarios.

The DOJ goes on to claim that, contrary to Judge Orenstein's ruling last week, other laws do not cover this situation, and that the wiretapping statute CALEA and the electronic communications privacy law ECPA discuss different scenarios altogether, meaning that the All Writs Act can apply, as "filling the gap." This rebuts Orenstein's argument that this kind of remedy is not allowed by CALEA and ECPA. It also generally attacks the key points of Orenstein's ruling, claiming that he's misreading the case law, some of which may be on point. Some of which, on the other hand, are a bit crazy.

Take, for example, the question of whether or not Apple is "too far removed" for the All Writs Act to apply. In his ruling, Orenstein noted that Feng was using his own property, not Apple's: "To the extent that Feng used his iPhone in committing crimes, he used his own property, not Apple's." Incredibly, the DOJ hits back on that claim by saying that because Apple licenses rather than sells its software, Feng was actually using Apple's property, and thus it is not too far removed:
To the contrary, Feng used Apple's property — the software on the phone — to commit and conceal his crimes.... Indeed, Apple’s property — the software features including the passcode feature, auto-erase feature (if enabled), and remote wipe feature — continues to obstruct the investigation. Given that Apple manufactured, sold, and continues to exercise control over a phone used in a criminal enterprise, where it designed and has exclusive expertise about the software used to further that criminal enterprise, where that very software now thwarts the execution of the search warrant, and where Apple provides ongoing services to phone owners, including control over what software may run on the device and the ability to wipe the phone remotely, compulsion of Apple is permissible
In fact, the DOJ -- somewhat incredibly -- cites Apple's own filing in the infamous triennial review for copyright exemptions. Back in 2009, Apple opposed rules that would exempt phone jailbreaking, and in the process discussed "ownership" based on licensing. The DOJ appears to be using Apple's claims about copyright related issues, to bite back at Apple and claim that because it claims ownership of the software, it can't also claim that it's too far removed to be excused from obligations under the All Writs Act.

Man, those copyright issues sure have a way of showing up in strange places, huh?

Given all that and more, the DOJ asks the court to basically have another judge overrule Judge Orenstein. This isn't a huge surprise. Everyone knows that this case (and the San Bernardino case) will go through the full appeals process before it's finally over. This is just the next step on that long road. To be honest, the DOJ's argument here is much stronger than in the San Bernardino case at a first read, but the fact that it deliberately misrepresented what Apple's law enforcement guidelines say suggest that some of its other arguments may not be fully above board either.

Filed Under: all writs act, doj, encryption, ios 7, james orenstein, jun feng
Companies: apple


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 5:15am

    An important point

    Unfortunately I can't seem to find the link, but assuming my memory is correct there's a rather relevant point to this, and that is that Feng accepted a plea deal, which means they aren't going through all this trouble to find evidence of a crime(unless they feel like changing the deal after the fact, which might raise some eyebrows), but simply just in case the phone happens to contain evidence they can use elsewhere(you know, totally unlike the other case).

    It's one thing to argue that a company can be compelled to defeat their own encryption if it's the difference between solving an active case and not being able to(I still wouldn't agree with the argument, but it's at least slightly stronger), but in both this case and the other one the best that the government can come up with is that the devices might have something of value on them, and that's not even close to being justification for what they're demanding.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:44am

      Re: An important point

      Unfortunately I can't seem to find the link, but assuming my memory is correct there's a rather relevant point to this, and that is that Feng accepted a plea deal, which means they aren't going through all this trouble to find evidence of a crime(unless they feel like changing the deal after the fact, which might raise some eyebrows), but simply just in case the phone happens to contain evidence they can use elsewhere(you know, totally unlike the other case).

      Yes, that's true. The reason this decision just came out is because the judge asked the DOJ if the whole application was moot, given that Feng has plead guilty. The DOJ says it is because they're "still investigating" what they claim may be a larger drug ring and Feng insists he's forgotten the passcode to the phone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:06am

        Re: Re: An important point

        My previous post was supposed to be attached to this thread, I must have click the wrong button.

        But the problem with this case is that a 3rd party can be compelled to do something just because a judge said so using the all writs in a farce.

        There is a terrible mental disease pervading the USA right now... and I can assure you that left unchecked, will only result in more death and violence at the hand of government.

        There are already more than enough innocent people rotting in jail that have plead guilty to crimes they did not and never would commit because of how corrupt this system is.

        There will never be justification for a court to have power to compel this... not ever!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 8:00am

          Re: Re: Re: An important point

          No, there are actual terrorists within the FBI trying to literally destroy American democracy by abusing ancient laws.

          These people need removing for the public's safety.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 8:10am

      Re: An important point

      Unfortunately I can't seem to find the link, but assuming my memory is correct…
      IIRC, that was in Magistrate Judge Orenstein's opinion. It also may have been discussed in the House Judiciary Committee hearing on March 1st, but of course, we don't have a hard-copy transcript of that hearing yet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:43am

    It's one thing to argue that a company can be compelled to defeat their own encryption if it's the difference between solving an active case and not being able to(I still wouldn't agree with the argument, but it's at least slightly stronger)

    You just lost all of your rights. There is no universe in which your logic will not be twisted into completely removing all of your rights.

    Government which is comprised of corrupt men are the greatest enemy to mankind. Government itself has murdered far FAR more people than all wars combined on earth! I am absolutely stunned that you can be this stupid! I don't care if thousands of people can be saved by forcing apple to decrypt the device. Far more people will be damaged over time by allowing Government the power to compel this FOR ANY REASON!!!

    Once a 3rd party can be compelled to do something for the government just to solve a case or problem... well you tell we why can't the government not then force a prostitute to go and fuck johns to catch more johns?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      I didn't say I would agree with the argument, for pretty much exactly the reason you point out, that once you open the door to 'just this once, just this case' you might as well toss the limits out the window entirely, but if someone's going to try and undermine the restrictions that keep them from doing anything they want, and endanger the public and it's rights in the process, the least they can do is come up with a semi-reasonable sounding excuse, of which 'just in case' is not one.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Mar 2016 @ 2:26am

      Re:

      They've already done something similar with child porn, if memory serves. "Break the law to catch law-breakers."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:48am

    As an aside, the DOJ also points out that because someone has activated the "remote wipe" feature on Feng's phone, it's afraid to even turn on the phone, as that might destroy whatever is on the phone


    As if they don't already have RF-proof rooms without network equipment in them, and never heard of a Faraday cage.

    Oh, wait. They think this all works by magic. I forgot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:55am

    Perhaps if they hadn't been so keen to use the 'apple have complied with other cases in the past so why not now' argument in the San Bernardino case then Apple may have been more inclined to help. US Government - welcome to round one of the chilling-effect game, we hope you have fun!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:56am

    this sounds just like the Entertainment Industries! as soon as they lose a case, they appeal but as soon as they win a case, they go through hell and high water to stop the losing side from lodging an appeal! there is no way in Hell this can be called justice, it's anything but! once the DoJ get a judge in place who they know will fall on their side, everything is hunky-dory!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:06am

    In his ruling, Orenstein noted that Feng was using his own property, not Apple's: "To the extent that Feng used his iPhone in committing crimes, he used his own property, not Apple's." Incredibly, the DOJ hits back on that claim by saying that because Apple licenses rather than sells its software, Feng was actually using Apple's property, and thus it is not too far removed

    What's incredible about that? Big software companies have been running that "licensed not sold" scam for far too long, and this is simply taking it to the logical conclusion. Hopefully this claim by the DOJ will stand and will set a precedent, giving companies a good reason to back away from "licensed not sold".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:14am

      Re:

      Agree, the DOJ does have a case in claiming that the property is indeed Apple's not Fengs.

      Either way it is a wash because if Apple can be considered guilty, then so is the sales person that sold the phone, the company supplying the phone service, and all other parties involved in its operation aside from Apple.

      The slip on this slope is damnable! Any judge attempting to use all writs to compel Apple should be charged with abuse of authority, removed from the bench never to serve in any capacity of power for the rest of their life!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 8:48am

      Re: Licensed, Not Sold

      It really was just a matter of time before the "licensed, not sold" strategy would bite them on the ass. Software as a Service (SaaS). Digital Rights Management (DRM). The trend toward producing phones and other devices with limited storage and no SDHC ports. By going "all cloud, all the time", presumably to monetize user data, companies are subject to the Third Party Doctrine, and our data is subject to government scrutiny, no matter how innocuous.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:20pm

        Re: Re: Licensed, Not Sold

        When the push the cloud began the only thing I could think of was to consolidate data into more easily penetrable places (cloud datacenters) for the TLA's. Maybe I'm old school, but there is a lot of value in begin able to run your own equipment and store your own data.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:12am

    Routine matters

    This is a routine application…
    28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(A)
    a judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear and determine any pretrial matter pending before the court, except a motion for injunctive relief . . .
    No matter how “routine” this category of All Writs Act application is, when the government asks for specific performance, isn't the requested relief in the nature of an injunction?

    Now that the district judge has the matter, this point may fall by the wayside. But failure to address it would not leave clear guidance for future cases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:16am

    That the DOJ has asked the district judge to basically overrule the magistrate is not at all surprising. It is routine. While I admittedly have not read any of the actual court documents, I presume that the case in question is actually pending before the U.S. District Court. It is common to assign discovery and pre-trial matters to a magistrate judge, who then issues a "report and recommendation" resolving whatever is in dispute. The parties then have a certain amount of time (maybe 30 days, I can't remember) to request that the district court review the magistrate's findings, and they support the request with a brief raising arguments in support of whatever outcome they think is warranted. Here, Apple will also get to present argument on why the magistrate was correct. This isn't a case of forum shopping or the DOJ looking for a sympathetic judge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:50am

      Block read fail: ECC [was Re: ]

      I admittedly have not read any of the actual court documents
      Besides Techdirt's prior coverage of Magistrate Judge Orenstein's opinion, over at Ars Technica, Cyrus Farivar provided a copy of the government's most recent filing in a story yesterday.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:43am

    Is anyone surprised they refuse to take the ruling when it is not what they demanded. I am surprised they are not just ignoring the judge and doing it anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 7:48am

      Re:

      Apply has the money to buy justice so the FBI cannot just get their way here.

      Where it a smaller company, yea... this would be a whole different case.

      Right now the only thing standing for our rights is money.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 8:07am

    That didn't take long

    It was a foregone conclusion. A District Court has already overturned the decision by the Magistrate Judge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 9:31am

      Re: That didn't take long

      Do you have a link? A request has been made by the DOJ, but as of 9:30 AM PST I cannot find any reports that that decision has been overturned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MarcAnthony (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 8:38am

    Agreeable to principles

    The All Writs Act states that it must be "agreeable to the usages and principles of law;" as we no longer adhere to the principle that slavery is just or permissible, then how is slavery in the service of the State agreeable? That's exactly what law enforcement is trying to do: enslave Apple to be their little deputy because they might possibly help, regardless of their non-affiliation with the events or their willingness to participate. This won't stop at phones. Once this inch is given, they will come for the proverbial yard; this will apply to all devices by any manufacturer—"You made it, so you'll facilitate our access to it and to our specifications."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 9:06am

      Re: Agreeable to principles

      Youngstown Sheet & Tube v Sawyer(1952) (FRANKFURTER, J. concurring)
      The question before the Court comes in this setting. Congress has frequently—at least 16 times since 1916—specifically provided for executive seizure of production, transportation, communications, or storage facilities.
      In Youngstown, of course, President Truman had not applied to a Magistrate Judge for an order under the All Writs Act.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 8:42am

    Don't they already have a judge in San Bernardino doing that...?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 9:43am

    Alas, Apple may find themselves in the deep end because the reality of what the FBI has asked is well within the realm of what they have done before.

    That Apple added slightly higher walls in an attempt to block police / officials from accessing a phone in the case of a warrant could also be taken as troubling. Taken in one light, they are offering a more secure experience to their users. In another light, the combination of encryption and remote wipe represent ways by which a defendant can avoid the implications of a warrant. You don't have to squint to hard to see where Apple has made moves with the sort of thing in mind.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I can easily see this rolling it's way all the way to SCOTUS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 9:48am

      Re:

      … rolling…
      R A W H I D E Opening Theme [YouTube]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 11:21am

      Re:

      In another light, the combination of encryption and remote wipe represent ways by which a defendant can avoid the implications of a warrant. You don't have to squint to hard to see where Apple has made moves with the sort of thing in mind.

      Actually yes, you really, really do have to squint hard to see it that way, those features are designed to protect people by ensuring that if their phone is lost or stolen it can't be immediately accessed and that in the worst case they can remotely delete any sensitive data from it, keeping said data out of the hands of people who might use it to the phone owner's detriment. That it might allow other actions, such as what you describe, is a pure coincidence, in the same way that window curtains can both protect the privacy of those inside a house and keep people from potentially seeing a crime in progress.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 11:25am

      Re:

      Alas, Apple may find themselves in the deep end because the reality of what the FBI has asked is well within the realm of what they have done before.

      Just exactly what was the last version of iOS that Apple wrote for the government?

      Yeah. That's what I thought.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    amoshias (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 9:46am

    "Incredibly, the DOJ hits back on that claim by saying that because Apple licenses rather than sells its software, Feng was actually using Apple's property, and thus it is not too far removed:"

    Far from being incredible, this is actually a really smart and plausible legal argument, because they're just using Apple's own words against them. Apple has opened the door to this type of argument by being one of the pioneers of the legal fiction that we don't own the toys we buy from them - a fact that this site rails against on a fairly regular basis.

    Look, it's a lousy situation all around. If this argument works, it strengthens the DOJ's position on forcing companies to break encryption AND strengthens Apple's position on licensing - two big losses for the populace. Just because Tim Cook happens to be the hero of the hour because his company's financial interests momentarily align with the public's privacy interest, don't forget that doesn't magically make Apple good guys. They've fought really hard for the right to screw their fans in many different ways - don't feel bad for them because one of the legal mechanisms they use hurts THEM as well as us. In the end, we're the ones who are losing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 9:58am

    "the Supreme Court has rejected speculation about future harm"

    Let's see...

    "Remove that post; it isn't in the engineering drawings."

    "But the building will fall down."

    "You're merely speculating about future harm; remove the d**n post."

    Post removed. Building falls down. Case closed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 10:53am

      Re: "the Supreme Court has rejected speculation about future harm"

      Can I play too?

      "Remove that drug; the doctor didn't order it."

      "But the patient will die."

      "You're merely speculating about future harm; remove the d**n drug."

      Drug removed. Patient dies. Case closed.

      Or some kind of batty crap like that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 11:06am

        Re: Re: "the Supreme Court has rejected speculation about future harm"

        "Ignite the rocket"

        "But it's too cold and the O-rings will fail"

        "You're merely speculating about future harm; ignite the d**n rocket!"

        "Suit yourself." Ignites rocket.

        Challenger explodes.

        Need
        Another
        Seven
        Astronauts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 11:08am

      Re: "the Supreme Court has rejected speculation about future harm"

      Might as well run with it as well.

      Exec: "Remove the airbags from the design, it's cheaper to manufacture the car without them."

      Designer: "If we do that, and people crash, they're going to smash their heads into the steering-wheel and dashboard, almost certainly killing them."

      Exec: "That's nothing more than speculation of future harm, no-one is crashing right this second, so clearly it's an excessive cost."

      Designer(under their breath): "Yeah, because we haven't implemented the design change yet...

      Exec: "What was that?"

      Designer: "Nothing."

      Airbags removed, people die from cranial trauma, exec pretends to be shocked, shocked he says, claims that he had no idea that such a thing might happen, and if only someone had tried to warn him he'd have put a stop to whoever ordered the airbags removed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.