Government hints it may demand iOS source code, signing key

The government yesterday hinted that it may demand that Apple hand over the iOS source code and the encryption key the Cupertino, Calif. company uses to sign updates if it won't comply with a court order to help authorities unlock an iPhone.

In a footnote in a Thursday brief, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said it would be happy to have Apple's source code and digital signing key.

"For the reasons discussed above, the FBI cannot itself modify the software on Farook's iPhone without access to the source code and Apple's private electronic signature," the footnote read. "The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers."