The government also mocked Apple's claim that it would be burdensome to devote six to 10 employees for two to four weeks to craft the mandated software and associated tools. In reply, the DOJ ticked off the firm's employee count and revenue, implying that the work would be trivial for a company of Apple's size.
"Even taking Apple at its word, this is not an undue burden, especially given Apple's vast resources and the government's willingness to find reasonable compromises and provide reasonable reimbursement," the DOJ said.
Nor did the government accept Apple's contentions -- or those of others who filed friends-of-the-court briefs in support of Apple -- that the order was in actuality about more than one iPhone, and that acceding to the FBI's demands would be a slippery slope.
"Apple and its amici try to alarm this Court with issues of network security, encryption, back doors, and privacy, invoking larger debates before Congress and in the news media," the DOJ said. "That is a diversion. Apple desperately wants -- desperately needs -- this case not to be 'about one isolated iPhone.' But there is probable cause to believe there is evidence of a terrorist attack on that phone, and our legal system gives this Court the authority to see that it can be searched pursuant to a lawful warrant."
A hearing on Apple's objections and the government's responses is slated for March 22.
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