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Justice Department is firing back at Apple

Posted at 11:47 AM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 15:00:27-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is firing back at Apple for refusing to help unlock a phone used by one of the gunmen in the San Bernardino attack.

In a new motion Friday, federal prosecutors say the company has chosen to repudiate a judge's order instead of following it.

The department also says Apple designs its products to allow technology — "rather than the law" — to control access to critical data.

Prosecutors also make clear that Apple would be allowed to retain possession of the phone and technology.

The motion offers a sharply worded response to a message that Apple's chief executive officer, Tim Cook, said in a message to Apple customers this week.

It represents a further escalation in a public relations battle that the two sides are waging.