Editor in Chief
- Jul 27, 2011
- Reaction score
The latest development in the ongoing feud between the United States Department of Justice (specifically started by the FBI) and Apple, just ratcheted up the inflammatory rhetoric. The DOJ responded to Apple's recent court filing in which Apple is attempting to vacate the FBI's order to open the San Bernardino iPhone.
The prosecutors representing the United States government called Apple's stance a "diversion," and claimed that Apple's fear of was "overblown." They also said that Apple's perspective was false and "corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights."
The DOJ doubled-down on their use of the All Writs Act to give them the authority to make this demand from Apple. Furthermore, the Government accuses Apple of "deliberately" raising technological barriers preventing the government from obtaining the data on the iPhone through a lawful warrant. The court document said, "Apple alone can remove those barriers so the FBI can search the phone, and it can do so without undue burden."
They also pointed out that Apple is "one of the richest and most tech-savvy companies in the world," and claimed that Apple is "more than able to comply with the AWA order." What's particularly egregious in the document is that the DOJ makes two contradictory arguments. On one hand, the DOJ reiterates their claims that this isn't about a "master key," and that this is simply about the one iPhone they need unlocked, even suggesting that there is no evidence a narrow order would apply to other devices in the future; however, they turn right around and contradict themselves by stating, if it does, Apple is "more than able to comply with a large volume of law-enforcement requests."
Of course, Apple's legal chief Bruce Sewell, responded by speaking with reporters. He seemed almost shocked by the DOJ's legal brief. Sewell called it a "cheap shot" and said that the brief's tone "reads like an indictment." Here's a further quote from Sewell's statement,
"In 30 years of practice I don't think I've 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. [...]
We add security features to protect our customers from hackers and criminals. And the FBI should be supporting us in this because it keeps everyone safe. To suggest otherwise is demeaning. It cheapens the debate and it tries to 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...."
What do you folks think? Did the Department of Justice go too far in vilifying Apple with such harsh legal language?