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FBI argues it can force Apple to turn over iPhone source code

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Last week, the Department of Justice filed its response to Apple’s appeal in the ongoing San Bernardino case. The government is attempting to force Apple to create a method of bypassing the security that would unlock an iPhone 5C that belonged to the shooter, Apple is fighting this demand by arguing against the 1789 All Writs Act that the DOJ has used against it. The Department of Justice’s latest filing ups the ante on this topic by claiming it could compel Apple to give up the source code for iOS itself, so the government could make the appropriate modifications.

The Department of Justice’s latest filing is best classified as vitriolic. It does not hint that Apple has commercial motivations, it accuses the company of manufacturing the entire controversy — and a great deal more besides. The second sentence of the filing reads: “This burden, which is not unreasonable, is the direct result of Apple’s deliberate marketing decision to engineer its products so that the government cannot search them, even with a warrant.”

Apple has taken a strong, pro-user stance on this issue and numerous security experts (and even John Oliver) have weighed in to explain why creating this kind of backdoor for the FBI is dangerous. You can watch his video here.

The FBI’s brief dismisses all of this as a marketing ploy, and then blasts Apple as a literal threat to American democracy, writing: “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: the courts, the Fourth Amendment, longstanding precedent and venerable laws, and the democratically elected branches of government.”

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