Apple, FBI war of words heats up

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By Esther Shein

The nastiness in the battle between the FBI and Apple has escalated with the U.S. Justice Department asserting that Apple is promoting "false" and "corrosive" arguments that threaten privacy breaches.

The government also maintained in a brief filed in U.S. District Court Thursday that issues over security and privacy raised by Apple and other tech companies are just diversions to cover up the fact that Apple is trying to avoid assisting the government even after warrants have been issued, according to Wired.

"Instead of complying, Apple attacked the All Writs Act as archaic, the Court's Order as leading to a 'police state,' and the FBI's investigation as shoddy, while extolling itself as the primary guardian of Americans' privacy," the government wrote in its brief. "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."

Apple responded after the brief was filed in a conference call with reporters, calling the action a "cheap shot" and an act of "desperation" by the government, according to Wired. "In thirty years of practice I don't think I've ever seen a legal brief that was more intended to smear the other side with false accusations and innuendo and less intended to focus on the real merits of the case," Apple's chief counsel Bruce Sewell said, according to Wired.

And Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, wrote in The Washington Post that the government is pushing the company to "turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies" at a time when security breaches are growing more prevalent and sophisticated and more information is being compromised.

"The threat to our personal information is just the tip of the iceberg," Federighi wrote. "Your phone is more than a personal device. In today's mobile, networked world, it's part of the security perimeter that protects your family and co-workers."

The FBI has been pushing Apple to create a software backdoor that would enable it to break into the iPhone used by in the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attacks in December.

For more:
read the article in Wired
read the opinion piece in The Washington Post

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