Justice Department mentions that it could compel Apple for iOS source code to create back door to unlock San Bernadino iPhone 5c

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Date: Tuesday, March 15th, 2016, 08:00
Category: iPhone, Legal, News, security


The Justice Department is now stating that it could potentially demand Apple hand over iOS source code and a signing key in the San Bernadino iPhone case.

A recent court filing states that the Justice Department made the proposal as a footnote in a recent rebuttal of Apple’s arguments in the case. In the brief, government laywers said they have so far pursued their current strategy — asking Apple to build a passcode limit break for the FBI — because they thought handing over code would be “less palatable” to the company.

“If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple,” the lawyers said.

The source code and a signing key would allow the government to create its own workaround for San Bernadino shooter Farook Syed’s iPhone 5c, which has been at the center of the unlocking controversy. This would also allow government agencies to insert modified software into iOS devices and could set an international precedent for doing so.

Apple has already expressed concerns about a self-made workaround for iOS security, arguing for instance that it would compromise the platform, and that the U.S. can’t compel a company to write new software.

A source close to the story has said that the Justice Department doesn’t intend to press the idea of seizing code while another source close to Apple claimed that the company isn’t that worried, and won’t try to argue the matter in a response to the DOJ brief due later today.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and Reuters

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