Quoted: Watch Loretta Lynch defend government in Apple vs. FBI

“We’re not asking for a backdoor… What we’re asking them do is do what their customer wants. The real owner of the phone is the county.”

Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney general, on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Thursday night, the same day federal prosecutors filed their latest legal salvo against Apple over the company’s refusal to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters in the deadly San Bernardino massacre in December. Syed Farook worked for San Bernardino County.

Lynch’s calm demeanor seemed so far removed from the U.S. government’s filing Thursday; she even said she’s had “a number of great conversations with [Apple CEO] Tim Cook on issues of privacy.” (See video below)

But as Howard Mintz reported, the battle is heating up, with the government’s latest filing accusing Apple of  “false rhetoric” because it’s saying that this case is precedent-setting and is about broader issues. The government said what it is asking for is “far from a master key, the software simply disarms a booby trap affixed to one door.” It also said in the filing that “there is no reason to think that the code Apple writes in compliance with the Order will ever leave Apple’s possession.”

Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel, called the government “desperate.” He also said during a press briefing: “In 30 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.” He took issue with the filing bringing up the company’s supposed “accommodation” of Chinese government requests for information.

And the feds hinted at possible further escalation of the fight, saying it could ask Apple for its iOS source code:

“The FBI itself cannot modify the software on Farook’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature,” the filing said. “The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers.”


Photo at top: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee March 9, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. On Thursday night, she appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show and discussed Apple vs. FBI and more. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)


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  • fstein

    There is no way to ensure security if devices can be hacked. It’s about security not only privacy.

  • At what point does Apple have to run software updates by the DOD for approval before they release it to the public?

  • jim8151

    This is an incredible can of worms that Apple does not want to open, and rightly so. If the U.S. is successful in compelling Apple to do this, even once, then other governments will do so, as well. And, let’s not kid ourselves, this is not for “one phone” as the government states. This is going to come up over and over. It is a point of law that has to be addressed by Congress, taking into account modern society and modern technology (not the 1700’s All Writs Act).

  • FGGuy

    Do we also want phone companies not to comply with government warrants for wiretapping, of the type that has brought about the conviction of many gangsters and corrupt politicians?
    Or does only Apple get this privilege?

  • bigbird2071

    Our Government just plain sucks. We do live in a Police State and sorry if that offends you Mr.Government. Your tactics and approach to this issue just reconfirms it.

    • nipp

      Vote Trump!!!!! idiot

  • nipp

    FREE ADVERTISING!!!!!!!! Apple is VERY aware that they don’t have to create a universal backdoor for all iphones they just want to look like they’re standing up against the government….. while reaping the rewards of all the free advertising the news reports are generating…. apple is very overrated