The Department of Justice has branded Apple's decision not to unlock an iPhone used by a suspected terrorist part of an elaborate brand marketing strategy.
According to reports, the Justice Department is calling for a judge to order Apple to unlock the phone, with prosecutors claiming the tech giant's current stance is part of a brand marketing strategy.
In a motion filed on Friday (19 February), the department said: "Based on Apple's recent public statement and other statements by Apple, Apple's current refusal to comply with the Court's Order, despite the technical feasibility of doing so, instead appears to be based on concern for its business model and its public brand marketing strategy."
Apple chief, Tim Cook, has been vocal about his decision not to unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in a terrorist attack calling the court order a "chilling attack" on civil liberties that sets a dangerous precedent.
On Wednesday (17 February) Cook published an open letter on Apple's website saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted a new version of Apple's operating system that would allow law enforcement to access private data. If the FBI were successful, Cook said the government could "demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone's microphone or camera without your knowledge."
Apple's lawyers are expected to file a response by next Friday (26 February).