“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement on Apple’s website at http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/. Cook is refusing to comply with the order.
He continued, “This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.”
Cook is responding to an order by a federal magistrate on Tuesday, compelling it to provide technical assistance to the FBI for its investigation into one of the San Bernardino shooters. Data on the iPhone is encrypted unless the password is known, which the FBI wants Apple’s help in bypassing. Doing so would allow snooping by the FBI.
According to Cook:
“Smartphones, led by iPhone, have become an essential part of our lives. People use them to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going.
“All that information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.
“Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us.
“For many years, we have used encryption to protect our customers’ personal data because we believe it’s the only way to keep their information safe. We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.”