Justice Department Calls Apple's Privacy Case Stance a 'Marketing Strategy'

The United States Justice Department today asked a federal judge to compel Apple to comply with the court's original order that would force the company to help the FBI hack into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. In the filing, shared by The New York Times, the DOJ calls Apple's refusal to help "a marketing strategy" that "appears to be based on its concern for its business model."

The DOJ bases this assertion on Apple's past cooperation, when it provided data from devices that ran earlier versions of iOS when ordered to do so via search warrant. Prior to iOS 8, Apple had the tools to extract data from locked iOS devices. With the release of iOS 8, Apple stopped storing encryption keys for devices, making it impossible for the company to access data on devices running iOS 8 or later.
Based on Apple's recent 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.
The government has demanded Apple create a tool that would allow the FBI to more easily hack into Farook's iPhone 5c through brute forcing the passcode, something that's quite different than the orders that Apple has complied with on pre-iOS 7 devices. Apple has been asked to develop a new version of iOS software that would do the following:

- Eliminate the auto-erase function that wipes an iPhone if the wrong passcode is entered 10 times.
- Eliminate the delay that locks the FBI out of the iPhone if the wrong passcode is entered too many times in a row.
- Implement a method that would allow the FBI to electronically enter a passcode using software.

Apple has publicly stated its intention to oppose the order, saying it sets a "dangerous precedent," a statement echoed by several technology companies that have come out in support of Apple. Apple believes that fulfilling the "chilling" request will lead to similar unlocking requests in the future or a general demand to weaken encryption on electronic devices.

Following an extension granted yesterday, Apple still has several days to formulate an official response to the court's demands. Apple is expected to argue that the order goes beyond the powers granted to the government by the All Writs Act, a key law that's being used in the case.

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Top Rated Comments

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51 months ago
"a marketing strategy" as in not betraying their customers' privacy.
Rating: 38 Votes
51 months ago
They may call it all they want, but that doesn't change the fact that Apple is protecting all their users' privacy.

If there's a way to open that iPhone without creating a way for hacking the iPhone that could be misused by others, Apple may consider it. For now, it's too dangerous.
Rating: 28 Votes
51 months ago
Call it however you want, US governement, but Apple won't budge an inch.

They're acting like children, not receiving what they wanted and then insulting Apple out of anger.
Rating: 27 Votes
51 months ago
Trump has said to boycott all Apple products. I really hate this guy..
Rating: 20 Votes
51 months ago
A marketing strategy even though Apple has consistently emphasized the security of iOS for years?
Rating: 19 Votes
51 months ago
Of course it is... Still, it is the right thing to do.
Rating: 15 Votes
51 months ago
The government screwed up and they want Apple to be the fall guy.


The Apple ID password linked to the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists was changed less than 24 hours after the government took possession of the device, senior Apple executives said Friday. If that hadn’t happened, Apple said, a backup of the information the government was seeking may have been accessible.

Now congress has asked the FBI director and Tim Cook to testify on Capitol Hill. I hope Apple has hired top notch PR and legal firm to handle this.
Rating: 14 Votes
51 months ago
If you'd like to support Apple's stance on privacy, there is a White House petition at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/apple-privacy-petition
Rating: 12 Votes
51 months ago
Why aren't more people questioning what exactly could be on this phone that would be of value or that the government doesn't already have via other means? This was not this guys personal phone (which he destroyed), this was a government issued phone owned by the county.


Journalists: Crucial details in the @FBI v. #Apple case are being obscured by officials. Skepticism here is fair:

Rating: 12 Votes
51 months ago

Tim Cook should be thrown in jail for instructing his company to ignore a lawfully issue order from a judge.

There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it regardless of your stance on encryption.

American is a country of laws, laws which make it the greatest nation the planet has ever seen. Tim Cook decides it is his right to break the social contract we all agree to as part of being in a civilized society.

Hey, maybe I will just stop paying taxes because it is my human right not to pay taxes. Lets see how far that goes.

Cook hasn't told anyone to ignore anything, and Apple was given a 3 day extension to comply. Apple is going to appeal it. Last time I checked that was legal.
Rating: 10 Votes

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