Legally Speaking, You’re The Property Of The State

The All Writs Act is a piece of legislation that made it clear in vague but certain terms that everybody in the United States is the property of the State:

Basically, it’s “a very short, cryptic statute” that gives the courts “all sorts of incidental powers” to require things not specifically covered by other laws, according to Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University.

In the past, the act has been used to compel non-parties — like service providers of tech companies — to help in criminal investigations, Vladeck said. But that help has typically been limited to straightforward requests, like activating or turning off particular features and using systems that are already in place, he said.

The new order is different: It tells Apple to help the government by creating an entirely new software to help investigators bypasses security features. “That requires Apple to go much further than any company has ever been required to go in one of these cases,” said Vladeck.

Although the statue is short and rather vague its intention is quite clear: to give the State the legal authority to compel people into performing actions. It’s currently being cited to compel Apple to create a custom backdoor for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). But this isn’t he first time this archaic law has been used to force technology companies to perform the State’s will.

Can a court compel a person to act? If so that effectively makes everybody the slave of any judge with an order. It’s clear that the State believes a judge has such authority because it allows them to hold disobedient individuals in a cage for being in contempt of court. Therefore it must be said that the All Writs Act creates a form of legalized slavery.