Justin Lee at Arc Digital argues that Apple is painting itself into a corner by arguing for a strict interpretation of the constitutional right to free speech in the Masterpiece case. Previously, when the FBI asked Apple to create software to neutralize security features on the iPhone, Apple argued that the order was compelled speech and that source code should be included in free speech protections. In doing so, Apple was advocating for a very broad interpretation of the free speech provision of the first amendment. The new position seems contradictory.
Such an outcome would satisfy the social justice concerns of Apple and other corporate giants, but it wouldn’t necessarily be good for business. A definition of speech narrow enough to exclude decorative arts will almost certainly exclude source code as well. The FBI could easily use such a precedent in court to compel Apple to write code capable of breaching their iPhone users’ privacy.
Will this prove damaging to Apple’s legal concerns in the future?