Compliance » Apple Could Face Penalties, Jail Time For Defying FBI

Apple Could Face Penalties, Jail Time For Defying FBI

February 29, 2016

Apple is bracing itself for a lengthy legal battle against FBI attempts to have the company unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernadino shooters. But what fines or penalties the company could face if it refuses to comply depend on whether the government’s legal case, invoking the arcane All Writs Act, is allowed to stand. Apple’s attorneys have challenged that legal reasoning, and have said the matter would be best handled in Congress. However, if the All Writs Theory stands, the federal district court could fine Apple hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, whatever it deemed necessary to move the tech giant to comply with the order. The court could also assign penalties associated with criminal cases, a legal mechanism used when no amount of fines may be effective in making the party comply. Should the case progress to the Supreme Court, “[T]here is a universe of possibilities where [Apple CEO] Tim Cook could actually go to jail for refusing to comply with a lawful order of the court,” Cooper Levenson attorney Peter Fu told Fast Company.

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