The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has slid a disturbing footnote in its court filing against Apple that could be interpreted as a threat to seize the iOS source code unless Apple complies with a court order in the FBI case.
The DoJ is demanding that Apple create a special version of iOS with removed security features that would permit the FBI to run brute-force passcode attempts on the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has made public where he stands on the Apple vs. FBI case, which has quickly become a heated national debate.
In the court papers, DoJ calls Apple’s rhetoric in the San Bernardino standoff as “false” and “corrosive” because the Cupertino firm dared suggest that the FBI’s court order could lead to a “police state.”
As Fortune’s Philip-Elmer DeWitt rightfully pointed out, that’s a classic police threat.
“We can do this easy way or the hard way. Give us the little thing we’re asking for—a way to bypass your security software—or we’ll take whole thing: your crown jewels and the royal seal too,” DeWitt wrote.
“With Apple’s source code, the FBI could, in theory, create its own version of iOS with the security features stripped out. Stamped with Apple’s electronic signature, the Bureau’s versions of iOS could pass for the real thing,” he added.
Whether or not the DoJ is trying to intimidate Apple, I do not know. But I know this—that quoted excerpt from DoJ’s court filing has got to send chills down everyone’s spine