Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook kicked off an event designed for the introduction of new products by wading into the political debate over privacy and encryption.
At the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, Chief Executive Officer Cook took the stage and immediately addressed a legal standoff with the FBI over a court order requiring it to help the U.S. unlock the handset of a terrorist who killed 14 people in San Bernardino last year. Cook said he’s humbled by the support Apple has received from Americans.
“We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government, but we believe strongly we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and your privacy,” he said. “We will not shrink from this responsibility.”
In a series of filings over the past month, Apple has repeatedly sought to frame the FBI debate as a potential threat to the privacy of hundreds of millions of iPhone users around the world. For its part, the U.S. Justice Department wants to keep the discussion focused on the individual handset that is the subject of the case. A judge in Riverside, California, will review the latest evidence on Tuesday.
“We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy,” Cook said.