The Department of Justice (DOJ) considers Apple's response to the long-standing case of encrypting the iPhone involved in the San Bernardino terrorist attack as a "false" and "corrosive" rhetoric.

Last month, a federal judge ordered Apple to cooperate with the FBI in unlocking the iPhone in question because the handset's security measures prevent the investigators from doing so themselves. However, the method to crack the code requires the company to make an entirely new iOS or a backdoor of sorts, which is what the Cupertino brand is against because it would place the personal information of other iPhone owners at risk and set a "dangerous precedent," as Apple CEO Tim Cook puts it.

On the other hand, FBI Director James Comey says that the tool will only be used on one particular device, adding that the agency doesn't intend to set a "master key loose on the land."

The latest court filing states that Apple's rhetoric is both "false" and "corrosive."

"Apple's rhetoric is not only false, but also corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights: the courts, the Fourth Amendment, longstanding precedent and venerable laws, and the democratically elected branches of government," the 43-page document reads (PDF).

Prosecutors who represent the government say that the FBI's request to have Apple unlock just one iPhone is "modest," indicating that it won't end up in the materialization of a master key as Comey suggests.

"It applies to a single iPhone, and it allows Apple to decide the least burdensome means of complying," the rebuttal continues.

They also define Apple's actions as a "diversion," as the company is pushing the issue to turn out as a huge matter rather than a narrow case of decrypting a single iPhone.

"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. That is a diversion. Apple desperately wants – desperately needs – this case not to be 'about one isolated iPhone,'" the filing proceeds.

Needless to say, the motion is seeking to compel Apple to comply with the FBI's demands of providing the necessary software to bypass the iPhone's tough security. Apple objects to the claims, of course.

The document also points out that the coveted information can't be acquired through the iCloud backup, which was argued to settle the matter without the need of a backdoor. Regardless of whether it could have solved the case or not, the task was next to impossible, as the passcode changed within 24 hours when the government obtained the iPhone. In this incident, the FBI says (PDF) in a testimony that one of the San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook already modified the password three days after the final backup, discontinuing any further following backup.

Senior VP and General Counsel of Apple Bruce Sewell reportedly told reporters in a call that the DOJ has "thrown all decorum to the wind" out of desperation.

"The tone of the brief reads like an indictment," Sewell said.

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