Apple has just filed a legal response to the Justice Department’s response to Apple’s response to the court order on behalf of the Justice Department. That simplified yet still confusing chronology of legal filings only shows the circus surrounding the tussle between Apple and government agencies, specifically the FBI, over unlocking the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. After being on the receiving end of some colorful remarks from the DOJ, Apple’s latest legal statement fires back by saying how the Founding Fathers would be appalled by the DOJ’s order.
Apple may have many arguments and sentiments against what the DOJ is forcing it to do, but its current legal aim is focused on one thing: getting the court order vacated. The court is requiring Apple to “cooperate” in the investigation of the San Bernardino shooting by creating an especially weak version of iOS to pry open the encryption on the shooter’s iPhone.
That order, on behalf of the FBI, was made on the basis of the All Writs Act, which Apple says the FBI is using as an all-powerful magic wand to get its way. Apple, unsurprisingly, doesn’t stop there. The Cupertino-based company is practically accusing the Justice Department of trying to rewrite history by interpreting the Act in a very different way, trying to lay legal groundwork where there should be none. According to Apple, there is no common law or authorized statute that allows government to force a private non-party like itself to shoulder the burden of the investigation.
Apple says it is also deeply offended, not by the name calling and accusations dropped by the DOJ, but just by the fact that government is forcing it to do something that is contrary to the company’s own principles.
The back and forth responses between the two parties are far from over. The two are set to meet in court next week but even then the arguments, both there and in the court of public opinion, will most likely continue, all the way up to the Supreme Court.