Tim Cook’s condemnation of a federal court order compelling Apple to write custom software that can bypass its own security restrictions has royally honked off the Department of Justice, which filed a motion today to compel Apple’s immediate cooperation in the case. Apple had previously asked for (and been granted) an additional three days to consider its response, which is now due by February 26.
The Department of Justice’s new filing pulls absolutely no punches, as shown below.
The document later states:
Based on Apple’s public statement and other statements by Apple, Apple’s current refusal to comply with the Court’s Order, despite the technical feasibility of doing so, instead appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy..
Apple’s public statement make it clear that Apple will not comply with the Court’s Order. The government does not seek to deny Apple’s its right to be heard, and expects these issues to be fully briefed before the Court; however, the urgency of this investigation requires this motion now that Apple has made its intention not to comply patently clear.
In other words: Because Apple will appeal the district court ruling and almost certainly ask that ruling to be suspended pending litigation, the DOJ wants to force Apple to comply immediately and settle the question at a later date.
Apple can challenge the All Writs Act used to compel its testimony in several ways but will almost certainly rest its case by arguing that the support the government wants is not, in fact, a minor issue. The DOJ and FBI have argued that it’s basically trivial for Apple to create a system that would unlock just one device while bypassing the security protections meant to secure the product from tampering. Apple has argued that creating such software is burdensome, and pointed out that while it has cooperated with the government in the past, it did so with devices running iOS 7 or below. Beginning with iOS 8, Apple began fully encrypting the product.
The Donald (or his campaign manager) weighs in
Earlier today, Donald Trump called for a boycott of Apple products until the company turns over the information on the San Bernardino devices. What’s somewhat more amusing is that Donald Trump’s campaign manager was sending out tweets on an iPhone at exactly the same time.
Kudos to 9to5Mac for the catch on this one. Trump later sent the following tweet, “clarifying” the situation and vowing to only use Samsung devices from this point forward