The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a new motion in court today regarding its battle against Apple to compel the iPhone-maker to unlock the iPhone 5c that belonged to San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.
In the new filing the feds argue that Apple has “deliberately raised technological barriers” on iOS to make it harder for the government and other attackers to hack Apple devices. They also claim that demanding Apple to unlock one iPhone won’t result in a security vulnerability for all users.
“There is no reason to think that the code Apple writes in compliance with the Order will ever leave Apple’s possession,” the filing argues. “Nothing in the Order requires Apple to provide that code to the government or to explain to the government how it works. Far from being a master key, the software simply disarms a booby trap affixed to one door.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook has asserted that creating a backdoor into iOS as proposed by the FBI would make all iPhones vulnerable because the software could be used to hack other iPhones. The FBI insists that Apple could just delete the software afterward and everything will be fine, but the company would have to keep the software alive to use it for other requests from states that are eagerly waiting to see if the FBI wins.
Apple’s top lawyer Bruce Sewell appeared before the House Judiciary Committee last week and said that the company would prefer for Congress to debate the issue of balancing encryption and national security and come up with a solution.
The company has insists that the software needed to unlock the iPhone doesn’t exist and that being compelled to create it would violate its First and Fifth Amendment rights. The DOJ’s recent filing claims that’s not the case and that sometime it’s constitutional for a person to be forced to say things they would rather not say, such as when a
witness is subpoenaed and sworn to speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
“The government and the community need to know what is on the terrorist’s phone, and the government needs Apple’s assistance to find out,” the filing argues. “Apple’s rhetoric is not only false, but also corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights.”
Apple media boss Eddy Cue recently vowed that the company will take its fight all the way to the Supreme Court. Security advocates, top tech companies, human rights activists and 50 percent of average Americans back Apple’s decision to fight the federal order, while law enforcement officials and the remaining Republican presidential candidates claim Apple is putting its brand before national security.