In the latest addition to the back and forth battle between Apple and the FBI over the locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, Apple on Tuesday filed a response brief that doesn’t pull any punches. While Apple attorneys last week were quick to categorize the DOJ’s own brief as an effort to ‘smear’ the company, we now have a more formal legal rebuttal to pore over.
Right off the bat, Apple argues that the government’s reliance on the All Writs Act is nothing more than an effort to “rewrite history by portraying the Act as an all-powerful magic wand rather than the limited procedural tool it is.” Further, Apple contends that the government’s interpretation of the All Writs Act would effectively enable the courts to “order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up.” Driving the point home, Apple added that “the Founders would be appalled” at such a misapplication of law.
Indeed, the notion that the All Writs Act could be used to allow government agencies to demand Apple assist with practically any request imaginable is a concern Apple has brought up before.
In a brief Apple filed nearly three weeks ago, the company explained:
For example, if Apple can be forced to write code in this case to bypass security features and create new accessibility, what is to stop the government from demanding that Apple write code to turn on the microphone in aid of government surveillance, activate the video camera, surreptitiously record conversations, or turn on location services to track the phone’s user? Nothing.
Apple’s filing also took offense at the DOJ’s recent assertion that Apple’s strong stance on encryption amounts to nothing more than a marketing ploy. Specifically, Apple said that it has put out nearly 2,000 ads worldwide and that they have never once used encryption as a marketing lure.
“This is a reckless and unfounded allegation,” Apple writes.
Apple’s full brief can be read in its entirety below.