Apple Files Objection in FBI iPhone Unlock Fight

Apple followed up its House Judiciary Committee testimony on Tuesday with a formal objection to the FBI's court order to create a password hackable version of iOS. Apple's legal team filed the objection in U.S. District Court, and a hearing where both Apple and the FBI will argue their positions is scheduled for March 22nd.

Apple formally objects to iPhone unlocking court orderApple formally objects to iPhone unlocking court order

The FBI obtained the court order after Apple said it couldn't help the agency unlock the iPhone 5c recovered from Syed Farook after he was killed in a shootout with police following a mass shooting where he, along with his wife, killed 14 coworkers and injured 22 others.

The court order calls for Apple to make a new version of the iPhone operating system that removes the ten try limit for passcode entries, removes the forced delay between passcode tries, shuts off the data self destruct feature, and adds a way to automate passcode entries. In other words, the FBI wants a way to brute force attack iPhone passcodes to see all of the contents on Mr. Farook's iPhone.

Apple called the the order an overreach of government authority and said it sets a dangerous precedent where encrypted personal data is no longer safe. That fight led to a House Judiciary Committee hearing on encryption where FBI Director James Comey said the order was necessary and wouldn't be a threat to privacy or security. He also openly asked for suggestions on other ways to get at the iPhone's contents.

Apple cited a separate ruling from Monday where a Federal Court Judge ruled the FBI can't use the All Writs Act to compel a company to create less secure software. In that case, the FBI is trying to view the contents of an iPhone from an accused drug dealer in Manhattan.

This is Apple's second filing related to the iPhone unlocking court order. The company filed a motion to vacate on February 25th, which if granted, would bring an end to this particular fight at least temporarily. The FBI could submit a new request for a court order with different arguments should the current order get tossed out.