The US Justice Department said Apple rhetoric on the case was “false” in a high-profile fight over the government’s bid to unlock an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.
Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a court order requiring Apple to write new software and take other measures to disable passcode protection and allow access to shooter Rizwan Farook’s iPhone.
Apple has not complied. It said the government request would create a “back door” to phones that could be abused by criminals and governments, and that Congress has not given the Justice Department authority to make such a demand.
However the DOJ told the court that Apple has said the government’s request would open the company to pressure from repressive regimes to provide similar assistance. But the Justice Department on Thursday questioned whether Apple is actually resisting such requests.
“For example, according to Apple’s own data, China demanded information from Apple regarding over 4,000 iPhones in the first half of 2015, and Apple produced data 74 percent of the time,” prosecutors wrote.
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,” prosecutors added.
The government said Apple “deliberately raised technological barriers” to prevent execution of a warrant.
Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell on Thursday said the brief reads “like an indictment” and called the claims about providing data to China a “smear” based on thinly sourced news reports.