Apple CEO Tim Cook is challenging a federal court order demanding his company help investigators unlock an iPhone used by an assailant in a recent deadly attack. The Cupertino, Calif. firm’s response sets up a battle that could provide a high-profile stage for a long-simmering debate over technology companies’ role in assisting law enforcement groups.
The iPhone in question belonged to one of the attackers in December’s deadly shootings in San Bernardino, Calif, which left 14 people dead. The device is protected by a password, as well as a security feature which would delete the iPhone’s contents if the wrong code is entered more than 10 times.
The court order demands that Apple devise a way to bypass that mechanism, allowing investigators to guess passwords until the correct sequence is discovered.
Cook on Tuesday posted a letter to Apple’s website explaining his company’s decision to challenge the court order. In it, the chief executive argues creating such a workaround will make every other iPhone more vulnerable to hackers and thieves.
Read Cook’s letter in full below:
More Must-Read Stories From TIME
- How an Online Pharmacy Sold Millions Worth Of Dubious COVID-19 Drugs — While Patients Paid the Price
- Why Literally Millions of Americans Are Quitting Their Jobs
- Meet the Women Participating in the Study That Could Change Future of Breast Cancer
- Inside the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Tomorrow's Business Leaders
- An Innovative Washington Law Aims to Get Foreign-Trained Doctors Back in Hospitals
- Why the Ex-Husband of a Missing Chinese Billionaire Is Risking All to Tell Their Story
- Timothée Chalamet Wants You to Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve