Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Files Their Final Response to the DOJ

Apple’s lawyers have done a terrific job in making all of their filings very accessible to laypersons, and relatively easy to read. Here are a few teasers — more at TechCrunch. These are mostly from footnotes, which are truly excellent in this document.

In response to implications and accusations made by the Department of Justice that Apple’s refusal is simply marketing:

The government’s brief assails Apple’s intentions and motivations. We do not intend to respond in kind.

Later, on the same issue:

The government accuses Apple of developing the passcode-based encryption features at issue in this case for marketing purposes. […] This is a reckless and unfounded allegation. Since passcode-based encryption was first introduced in October 2014, Apple has produced 627 separate ads in the United States and approximately 1,793 ads worldwide. […] These ads have generated 99 and 253 billion impressions, respectively. […] Not a single one advertised or promoted the ability of Apple’s software to block law enforcement requests for access to the contents of Apple devices.

Regarding the ways in which the DOJ is framing the All Writs Act:

The government portrays the All Writs Act as a “broad,” “venerable,” “fluid,” “adaptable” font of virtually unlimited authority empowering courts to issue any and all orders that the government requests in the pursuit of “justice.” […] As the government tells it, courts can wield the “flexible power” conferred by the Act until “Congress expressly takes it away.” […] This is an exercise in wishful thinking, not statutory interpretation.

In response to the threat of being forced to turn over the iOS source:

The catastrophic security implications of that threat only highlight the government’s fundamental misunderstanding or reckless disregard of the technology at issue and the security risks implicated by its suggestion.

In response to accusations that Apple bends to the will of foreign (read: Chinese) requests:

Finally, the government attempts to disclaim the obvious international implications of its demand, asserting that any pressure to hand over the same software to foreign agents “flows from [Apple’s] decision to do business in foreign countries…” […] Contrary to the government’s misleading statistics, which had to do with lawful process and did not compel the creation of software that undermines the security of its users, Apple has never built a back door of any kind into iOS, or otherwise made data stored on the iPhone or in iCloud more technically accessible to any country’s government.

A very strong response.

I wonder if iOS 9.3 — which will probably be announced in detail at Apple’s event one day prior to their court hearing — will contain any major security announcements.