Feds Say Apple's Stand Against The FBI Is Just A PR Stunt 

Feds Say Apple's Stand Against the FBI Is Just a PR Stunt

The US Department of Justice has filed a motion for a court order to compel Apple to assist it in unlocking a phone connected to the dead suspect in the mass shooting in San Bernardino last year. "Apple is not above the law," it reads. If this sounds familiar, that's because there is already a court order covering the exact same case, which was handed down earlier this week. Tim Cook publicly challenged it, which has galvanised a discussion on security and tech companies' cooperation with law enforcement.

Today's motion is for a court order to compel Apply to comply with the initial court order. The distinction between the old order is that the new one is way surlier. "Apple's current refusal to comply with the Court's Order, despite the technical feasibility of doing so, instead appears to be based on concern for its business model and brand marketing strategy," it reads. In other words: This is just good PR.

Apple's legal response to the initial court order is due February 26, and the government is due to respond March 5 -- after which Apple will have up until March 15 to respond with a brief.

But it appears the US DOJ doesn't want to wait that long, and is viewing Tim Cook's public response as the equivalent to the response the company would give in court. In this new motion, the DOJ stresses the urgency of the investigation:

Apple's public statement makes clear that Apple will not comply with the Court's Order. The government does not deny Apple 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 intentions not to comply patently clear.

In case there was any ambiguity about whether the DOJ thinks Apple is being irresponsible, the motion essentially states that Apple designed a phone to mess up law enforcement. "Apple designed its software and that design interferes with the execution of search warrants," the motion reads.

The DOJ also stresses that it didn't necessarily need to file a second order:

While it is obviously true that Tim Cook's statement against complying with the FBI is excellent PR -- and free! -- for Apple, this in and of itself does not, of course, make its stance wrong.

The lesson today, in case there was any question at all, is that the DOJ means business.

Image: Getty



    They're standing in the way of an investigation into a suspect in a mass shooting after the DOJ went through the proper channels to first ask for help, then compel them to help?! How the hell does Tim Cook think this makes them look good? The DOJ should have every expectation that people would assist them in such a matter.

      From what I understand, the mechanism proposed by the feds won't just work on the phone in question but all iPhones, paving the way for future abuse by already largely untrusted intelligence agencies.

      I doubt very much that they're doing it for either the PR or to protect their customers privacy, they're doing it to protect their bottom line. Unless all phone OS developers have to provide a similar mechanism to bypass their lock screens and encryption, Apple could realistically lose a significant market share. By my bullshit statistics calculations at least 50% of the US population is a member of the tinfoil hat wearing, conspiracy theorist nut job brigade, who believe the government is out to get either them or their guns! They'll never buy another iPhone again, is that really fair just because Apple happen to be the terrorist phone manufacturer of choice?

      Last edited 22/02/16 3:08 am

        This is my understanding as well, which is all fine and well but being well known which phone do you think will now being the phone of choice for anyone hoping to find their deeds? People will cry that by giving them a back door it creates a fear of their information being able to be revealed and them getting in trouble. Well guess what boys and girls, that's what the entire Law is based around, it's the whole point of Police and other such Law Enforcement Groups, they're designed to make people Fear doing something wrong, being caught and facing the consequences. You only need to look at the internet and the anonymity it provides and thusly the rise of people indulging in their sick fantasies to see what a world without that fear would be like.

          I'm afraid we live in vastly different worlds. In my world the Police are 'designed' to make people feel safe, not live in fear, it's unfortunate that this is not true in far too many places.

          Everyone is entitled to their secrets, even criminals, however unfortunate that may be, this is why there are laws against self incrimination. Ultimately this is a pointless endeavor as it will simply encourage a third party to develop a secondary locking/encryption mechanism that cannot be circumvented by Apple.

          I have to ask the question, if you think the internet is such a source of depravity and deviance why are you using it?

            I think we're talking about the same thing essentially Gravitas, they create fear for those who seek to do wrong and in so doing create safety for all others.

            Because the depravity and deviance is only a small part of it, we don't shy away from society as a whole because of the small minority that try to bring it down, same reason I wouldn't shy away from using the internet. But we have to acknowledge that the internet is a largely lawless place where people feel more comfortable doing naughty things due to the anonymity it affords them and the ease with which that anonymity comes.

    Imagine this scenario, which might be unlikely but is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility - another 9/11 style terrorist attack is carried out in the US, with casualties in the hundreds or thousands, and it comes to light that information which could have prevented or thwarted the attack was contained on this phone that Apple won't unlock. Hindsight being what it is, 99% of the population would blame Apple for not complying with the court order.

    Still, it is not nearly as stupid as the fact that no-one on a terrorist watch list can fly in the US but those same people are free to buy as many firearms, of any type, as they like. Gotta love 'Murica.

    Typical self promotion by Apple.
    If the order was real at least one one the Executive Team would be in a cell until Apple complied.

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