The feud between Apple and the FBI has turned hostile, with the government agency calling out Apple’s actions as false and corrosive to the very system meant to protect rights.
“Here, Apple deliberately raised technological barriers that now stand between a lawful warrant and an iPhone containing evidence related to the terrorist mass murder of 14 Americans. Apple alone can remove those barriers so that the FBI can search the phone, and it can do so without undue burden,” the Department of Justice wrote in a filing.
The debate began when the FBI demanded Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the two San Bernardino shooters. Apple, however, denied the request, saying that accommodating such requests would set a bad precedent and creating a backdoor into the system would endanger user privacy.
However, DOJ argues that Apple is raising barriers for the FBI and is keeping it from accessing crucial information on the attackers. Moreover, DOJ says, the company’s decision comes off more as a marketing ploy.
“By Apple’s own reckoning, the corporation — which grosses hundreds of billions of dollars a year — would need to set aside as few as six of its 100,000 employees for perhaps as little as two weeks. This burden, which is not unreasonable, is the direct result of Apple’s deliberate marketing decision to engineer its products so that the government cannot search them, even with a warrant,” DOJ said.
The Cupertino-based company, which is set to face the FBI in court later this month, has taken a strong stance against any demands to build a software to hack into the locked iPhone of the shooter. Apple SVP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell went so far as to call DOJ desperate enough to have “thrown all decorum to the wind,” according to CNBC. “The tone of the brief reads like an indictment,” he added.
And while Apple seems to be garnering support from more tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, DOJ maintains that Apple is blowing the situation out of proportion as it is not asking the company to build a back door but is instead asking it to unlock a single iPhone.
“Apple is not some distant, disconnected third party unexpectedly and arbitrarily dragooned into helping solve a problem for which it bears no responsibility,” DOJ wrote.
Gov’t Response to Apple by CNBCDigital