Skip to content

Encryption debate latest: Apple calls FBI request ‘deeply offensive’

The Apple-FBI encryption debate goes on. Apple’s latest filing hits back at the Department of Justice, claiming that its request for Apple to build backdoor software in order to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5s is a “deeply offensive” attempt to “rewrite history.”

Last week, the FBI filed a report accusing Apple of being “corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights.” Apple scoffed at the filing, calling it a “cheap shot” and an attempt to “vilify” the company. Now Apple has replied with its own official filing, in which it rubbishes many of the FBI’s previous claims.

Apple make the point that what the FBI is asking is far above and beyond what can be expected of a private company, with no real legal grounds to do so:

“The government seeks an order here that is neither grounded in the common law nor authorized by statute. Indeed, the government has not pointed to any writ available at common law that would require a private non-party to perform burdensome forensics work, create new software, or compel speech to assist law enforcement.”

Not only is Apple expected to undertake this burden, says the filing, but it is being asked to forget its strong stance on privacy and act directly against its core beliefs:

“The government disagrees with Apple’s position and asks this Court to compel Apple to write new code that reflects its own viewpoint—a viewpoint that is deeply offensive to Apple.”

The statement concludes by stating that the Founding Fathers would be appalled if they knew how the courts “can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up.” Looks like the claws are out.

For those interested in skimming the full 43-page document, you can do so here. In the meantime, this story will continue to roll on – follow us on Twitter to stay up to date!