Here's a brief recap of the three new developments regarding the latest FBI vs. Apple news:
First - Harvard Law professor Susan Crawford explains why the FBI’s position rests on ‘shaky legal ground.’ Here's a detailed quote from BGR on that subject,
"Getting straight to the point, Crawford details why the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) precludes government agencies like the FBI from telling private companies how to design software.
“CALEA was the subject of intense negotiation — a deal, in other words,” Crawford explains. “The government won an extensive, specific list of wiretapping assistance requirements in connection with digital communications. But in exchange, in Section 1002 of that act, the Feds gave up authority to “require any specific design of equipment, facilities, services, features or system configurations” from any phone manufacturer.”
Consequently, the government, in getting CALEA passed, agreed that digital communications companies do not need to seek clearance “in advance of launching a new device.” Additionally, the government also lost the ability to dictate how manufacturers need to design their products. In other words, the FBI in this particular case has no legal basis to demand Apple create what would effectively be a backdoor into one of its products."
Second - Apple's CEO Tim Cook's transcript in Time magazine shares that the FBI has a mountain of data already available on the San Bernardino shooter without needing to even hack the iPhone. Cook also describes the chain of events that lead up to the FBI escalating things with Apple. It becomes obvious that the FBI screwed up. They also handled the whole process badly, and dumped things onto the media irresponsibly because they wanted broader authority without having to go through the legislative process. Here's the link to that: Time.
Third - A number of high level engineers at Apple have indicated their intention to quit their jobs if the US Government orders Apple to create the "Custom OS-Master Key" for iOS. They even have a nickname for it called "govtOS." This would ultimately put the Feds in the position of forcing Apple to hand over the source code to Apple's iOS (although it seems unlikely that the DoJ will win in court). Here's a good writeup with a few more details: SlashGear.
The issue is only heating up as the countdown to the court fight between Apple and the Department of Justice ticks down to Tuesday, March 22nd.