The US Justice Department on Friday sought a court order to force Apple to help unlock an iPhone as part of the probe into last year's San Bernardino attacks, escalating a legal showdown over encryption.
"The order does not, as Apple's public statement alleges, require Apple to create or provide a 'back door' to every iPhone," said the government motion filed in federal court.
The Justice Department weighed in after Apple challenged a previous order to cooperate with the FBI in unlocking an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the December attacks, which have sharpened the public debate over encryption
Apple this week complained that a magistrate's order would effectively create a "back door" which could weaken security for its device and for consumers.
The new motion said that Apple's public statements suggest it is basing its defense on "marketing concerns" and that the company was not being asked to hand over any sensitive software that could be used by hackers.
A hearing in the case is set for March 22, according to the motion.