The U.S. Justice Department has raised the stakes in the San Bernardino iPhone case with its latest filing (via The Verge), in which it describes Apple’s response to the court order as “rhetoric” that is “not only false, but also corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights,” accuses Apple of a “deliberate marketing decision to engineer its products so that the government cannot search them, even with a warrant,” and uses hyperbolic statements, such as claiming Apple has “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.”
In addition, a footnote on page 22 of the brief, highlighted by ACLU principal technologist Christopher Soghoian, includes a thinly-veiled threat by the DOJ to simply seize Apple’s iOS source code and digital signatures if the company refuses to comply:
For the reasons discussed above, the FBI cannot itself modify the software on Farook’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature. The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers.
Responding to the filing in an on-the-record conference call with reporters, Apple’s Chief Counsel, Bruce Sewell, called the DOJ’s latest filing a “cheap shot,” noting that it “reads like an indictment” and seeks to “vilify Apple” as having “deliberately made changes to block law enforcement.” Sewell went on to state, “In 30 years of practice, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a legal brief that was more intended to smear the other side with false accusations and innuendo, and less intended to focus on the real merits of the case” and called on both sides to be more civil.
Let’s at least treat one another with respect and get this case before the American people in a responsible way. We are going to court to exercise our legal rights. Everyone should beware, because it seems like disagreeing with the Department of Justice means you must be evil and anti-American. Nothing could be further from the truth.
[via Daring Fireball]