The Justice Department (DOJ) is pushing forward with its legal fight against Apple, urging a federal judge to compel the tech giant to help the FBI crack open a cellphone left behind by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters. Prosecutors wrote in a new filing today "Rather than assist the effort to fully investigate a deadly terrorist attack by obeying this court's [previous order], Apple has responded by publicly repudiating that order."
Federal prosecutors say the phone, given to Farook by his employer, could be hiding "crucial evidence" about the terror attacks. "The government requires Apple's assistance to access the ... device to determine, among other things, who Farook and Malik may have communicated with to plan and carry out the IRC shootings, where Farook and Malik may have traveled to and from before and after the incident, and other pertinent information that would provide more information about their and others' involvement in the deadly shooting," prosecutors said in their initial filing on Tuesday.
ABC news reports that "Prosecutors said Farook's device could be encrypted to the point that its content would be 'permanently inaccessible,' and, 'Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search.'"
A Secret Meeting
On a different note, BloombergBusiness added a little gas to the fire today by discussing a "secret meeting" and "secret memo" on challenging the new wave of encryption software that came to market recently.
According to the report, "Silicon Valley celebrated last fall when the White House revealed it would not seek legislation forcing technology makers to install “backdoors” in their software -- secret listening posts where investigators could pierce the veil of secrecy on users’ encrypted data, from text messages to video chats. But while the companies may have thought that was the final word, in fact the government was working on a Plan B.
In a secret meeting convened by the White House around Thanksgiving, senior national security officials ordered agencies across the U.S. government to find ways to counter encryption software and gain access to the most heavily protected user data on the most secure consumer devices, including Apple Inc.’s iPhone, the marquee product of one of America’s most valuable companies, according to two people familiar with the decision.
The approach was formalized in a confidential National Security Council “decision memo,” tasking government agencies with developing encryption workarounds, estimating additional budgets and identifying laws that may need to be changed to counter what FBI Director James Comey calls the “going dark” problem. For more on this story, see the full BloombergBusiness report here.
The FBI vs. Apple
The case between Apple and the FBI exploded into the news cycle on Wednesday. Since that time Patently Apple has posted eleven additional reports covering many perspectives as noted below:
Tim Cook's Decision to go to War with the Government will now veer into a Legal Argument over Free Speech Feb 19, 2016
Apple Assisted the FBI on the San Bernardino Case but the Essential Last 44 Days of Data is Locked in the iPhone 5c – Feb 18, 2016
Manhattan District Attorney Slams 'Warrant-Proof' iPhones and Apple Playing the new Sheriff in Town Feb 18, 2016
Apple's Court Order Battle Wakes Up Intelligence Committee to Consider new Ground Rules for Technology Companies Feb 18, 2016
Apple's Court Order Battle Wakes Up Intelligence Committee to Consider new Ground Rules for Technology Companies – Feb 18, 2016
WhatsApp CEO is in the same Boat as Apple & Applauds Cook's Stance on Fighting Court Order Compliance Feb 17 2016
WSJ: Tim Cook is playing a Dangerous Game of Brinkmanship with the U.S Government - Feb 17, 2016
Edward Snowden Steps into Apple's Privacy Case: "This is the most important tech Case in a Decade" - Feb 17, 2016
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Sides with the Court on Unlocking an iPhone while Railing against Apple – Feb 17, 2016
Enterprise Security Firm Says Apple Could Easily Comply with the Court Order to Open the iPhone 5c – Feb 17, 2016
The Court Rules that Apple must Provide 'Reasonable Technical Assistance' to Unlock an Infamous U.S. Terrorist's iPhone – Feb 17, 2016