‘This is an issue that impacts all of us.’

Apple CEO Tim Cook defended his company’s high-stakes legal battle with the FBI during the company’s product launch on Monday, saying it is Apple’s responsibility to protect its customer’s data.

“We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government, but we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy,” Cook said. “We owe it to our customers, and we owe it to our country.”

Cook’s statement comes one day before Apple and the U.S. Department of Justice appear before a federal court to fight over a magistrate judge’s order directing Apple to write special software that would help the Federal Bureau of Investigation bypass the security on the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. 

Apple, civil-liberties groups, and academic technologists fear that if Apple is forced to undermine their own security features on one iPhone, it could undermine the security and privacy of every iPhone user. 

The FBI has rejected this notion, claiming that Apple engineers have the ability to keep any custom software it writes for law enforcement safe from hackers. While Cook did not go into detail about the case, he pushed back against any notion that it plans to bow to the government’s request.

“This is an issue that impacts all of us,” Cook said, “and we will not shrink from this responsibility.”

Apple and the DOJ will argue the iPhone-unlocking order on Tuesday, March 22.

Screengrab via Apple 

William Turton

William Turton

Once named one of Forbes’ 20 Under 20 and hired as a staff writer for the Daily Dot when he was still a senior in high school, William Turton is a rising tech reporter focusing on information security, hacking culture, and politics. Since leaving the Daily Dot in April 2016, his work has appeared on Gizmodo, the Outline, and Vice News Tonight on HBO.