Apple says the government can’t force it to write code

Apple iPhone hacking and the FBi

Apple has told a San Bernardino court that it shouldn’t have to write code to help the FBI unlock the iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooter’s.

Apple’s legal team says its computer code is protected by the First Amendment and that it shouldn’t be “conscripted” to work for the government.

Apple said in a court filing Thursday that “this is not a case about one isolated iPhone.”

“This case is about the Department of Justice and the FBI seeking through the courts a dangerous power that Congress and the American people have withheld: the ability to force companies like Apple to undermine the basic security and privacy interests of hundreds of millions of individuals around the globe,” Apple said in court documents.

Apple called the “conscription” of an American company to do the government’s bidding “unprecedented.”

Apple fears that the government will use this case to repeatedly force the company to create code for criminal investigations in the future. The company says those requests will become “unreasonably burdensome.”

Apple says the FBI’s demand would require the company to assign six to 10 engineers for two to four weeks.

The government will have an opportunity to respond to Apple by March 10, and Apple can offer one final reply by March 15.

A federal magistrate-judge will hear arguments from both sides on March 22 and make a ruling soon after.