Apple CEO Tim Cook defended his company’s stance on encryption and thanked the general public for their support during the launch of the iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7.
The company is currently engaging in a very public battle with the FBI, which wants Apple to unlock an iPhone 5C belonging to one of the suspects in the San Bernadino shootings in California.
The FBI says it is an issue of national security and that this instance is a one-off. But Apple says merely creating code that could unlock the device – if it is possible – would break the trust of its customers and its very existence means other agencies could ask it to unlock more devices.
“I’ve been honoured and grateful from the support we’ve received across the world,” he said to loud applause from the audience. “We believe strongly we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers and our country. This is an issue that impacts all of us and we will not shirk our responsibility.”
The issue has highlighted the ongoing battle between authorities and technology companies over encryption and what balance needs to be struck between privacy and security. California is one state that has introduced an anti-encryption smartphone bill, although the technology industry has resisted such moves so far.
One notable exception was Amazon, which disabled encryption on FireOS, only to restore it a few days later.
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