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Apple Would Like to Make This Perfectly Clear: It's Not Making 'Accommodations' to China

A justice department filing accuses Apple of making "accommodations" to gain access to the giant Chinese market.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Apple would like to set the government straight on how it does business in the world’s largest market: It hasn’t made any “special accommodations” to the Chinese government.

The Justice Department sought, in its most recent court filing, to undercut Apple’s argument that helping U.S. investigators hack into an iPhone used by one of the attackers in San Bernardino would leave it vulnerable to similar requests from other governments.

The U.S. government argued Apple has already made “accommodations” to gain access to the huge and growing Chinese market, citing news accounts of the company modifying its iPhones for sale on the mainland to use a wireless standard required by the Chinese government and storing users’ data on servers within the country.

Apple took issue with the government’s attempts to disregard the “obvious international implications of its demand.”

The company acknowledged it responded to Chinese government demands for information about some 4,398 devices in the first six months of 2015 (the U.S. government had 9,717 in the same period). But it notes that government has not demanded of Apple what the U.S. is now requesting in court: That it write software to disable security features on the iPhone.

“Contrary to the government’s misleading statistics, which had to do with lawful process and did not compel the creation of software that undermines the security of its users, Apple has never built a back door of any kind into iOS, or otherwise made data stored on the iPhone or in iCloud more technically accessible to any country’s government,” Apple writes in a filing Tuesday with federal court.

Apple also says it uses the same security protocols everywhere in the world. It has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a back door to any of its products or services, or provided any government with its proprietary source code for the iOS mobile operating system.

“We believe any such access is too dangerous to allow,” Apple software chief Craig Federighi said in a court filing.

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