Cupertino, CA – Apple CEO Tim Cook today elaborated on Apple’s refusal to comply with the FBI investigation into the December 2015 San Bernardino terrorist shooting, in which 14 people were killed and 22 injured.
“Apple realizes that the government is authorized, under certain circumstances, to deprive people of an extensive number of rights. With a proper warrant, the government can tap a suspected criminal’s phone line, post a surveillance team at their home, video and audio record them, and search their home. The government can read that person’s financial records, read their diary, interview their friends, and invade their privacy in numerous other ways. With proper cause, the government can seize a person’s house, car, financial assets, and other property. After a person has been convicted of a crime, in some cases the government has the right to imprison that person, deny them the right to vote, and possibly even put that person to death.
“Apple feels that we as a society have to draw the line somewhere. The government might have the right to invade a person’s physical privacy, seize all their assets, and imprison them, but allowing the government to see the contents of that person’s iPhone is just going too far.
“Apple must consider the privacy needs of all of our customers. If we allow the government to obtain a warrant to see the contents of a terrorist’s phone, where will it end? Will the government then obtain warrants to see the contents of phones belonging to child molesters and child pornographers? Money launderers? Extortionists? Kidnappers? Drug traffickers? Arms dealers? These people paid $499 for their iPhones just like everyone else. With that $499 payment, they became part of the Apple family. The fact that they broke the law does not somehow mean they are entitled to a lesser level of privacy than the law-abiding members of our family.
“If Apple complies with the court order in this case, what would stop the government from obtaining warrants to examine the contents of every iPhone in America?
“Some people have argued that violating this dead terrorist’s iPhone privacy rights will help fight the war on terror. However, we believe that the iPhone privacy interests of a dead terrorist outweigh any potential benefit society might obtain from preventing future terrorist attacks.
“We thank our customers for their loyalty, and we trust the court will find in our favor as we appeal this chilling request from our government.”