The Department of Justice on Thursday sent a strongly worded message to Apple over the iPhone encryption battle with the FBI. The DOJ said the burden to unlock the iPhone 5c is not unreasonable, and is a “direct result of Apple’s deliberate marketing decision to engineer its products so that the government cannot search them, even with a warrant.“
Furthermore, the DOJ accused Apple of playing a diversion game in the media to make the fight sound as if it will concern all iPhones, not just the one involved in the San Bernardino shooting and that it “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.”
After the DOJ’s brief had become public, Apple held a conference call with the media, explaining that the DOJ’s tone has changed significantly. Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said the prosecution fired a “cheap shot” brief, that’s meant to “vilify Apple.”
“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,” he said.
According to Sewell’s remarks, as recorded by The Verge, the tone of the brief reads like an indictment. He reiterated that Apple works shoulder to shoulder with the FBI when it can, which is why “this cheap shot brief surprises” Apple so much.
“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,” he said, adding that for the first time ever, the government claims Apple has intentionally made changes to block law enforcement requests.
“This should be deeply offensive to everyone that reads it. An unsupported, unsubstantiated effort to vilify Apple rather than confront the issues in the case,” he continued
“To do this in a brief before a magistrate judge just shows the desperation that the Department of Justice now feels. We would never respond in kind. But imagine Apple asking a court whether the FBI could be trusted because, there is this real question about whether J. Edgar Hoover ordered the assassination of Kennedy. See ConspiracyTheory.com as our supporting evidence,” Sewell said. That’s certainly a comparison that’s going to make you smile
“I can only conclude that the DoJ is so desperate at this point that it has thrown all decorum to the winds,” Apple’s exec further added, saying that the features added in iOS are meant to improve security against hackers and criminals. The FBI should support Apple, according to him, because that’s what keeps everyone safe.
“To suggest otherwise is demeaning. It cheapens the debate, and it tries the mask the real and serious issues. I can only conclude that the DoJ is so desperate at this point that it has thrown all decorum to the winds,” Sewell said.
It’s pretty clear that the gloves have come off in this FBI vs. Apple, and neither party is looking to back down.