Apple has begun a new phase of its legal battle with the FBI over a “banned” app that lets people view photos from a wide range of online sources without a warrant.
In a court filing Monday, Apple said the FBI demanded that it remove the app after the bureau asked for the removal in October, and that it has refused.
The app, called Photos by Apple, allows people to share their photos with people they have known for at least two years.
The app, which was designed by the same team behind the popular app Camera+, has been in use since 2008, and Apple has maintained that the app is a legitimate application for law enforcement.
The app is not a spyware, but the FBI has sought a court order requiring it to remove it from the App Store, according to the filing.
The bureau asked Apple to remove the photos, which it claimed were being used by criminals, after the app was released.
The bureau then sought a search warrant to seize the app and other content from Apple’s servers, which would have taken a few days, the filing said.
The case, however, has dragged on for more than two years and has reached the high court, which is considering whether to hear Apple’s appeal of the FBI’s request.
The government has said it believes the app has no evidence of wrongdoing.
In September, the FBI asked a federal appeals court to dismiss the case against the app, saying that its content is protected by the First Amendment, a legal standard that is unclear to Apple.
The FBI’s latest request is for a court-ordered search warrant that would allow it to seize any images stored on the servers, according the filing, which notes that the FBI had previously asked for a warrant in the case, but had not been granted one.