Privacy battle dominates Apple shareholder meeting


Tim cook
"The government is *this* mad at us."
Photo: Apple

The company’s privacy battle with the FBI was the main focus at the Apple shareholder meeting today.

CEO Tim Cook reiterated the company’s intention to fight a court order that compels engineers to create software capable of bypassing the iPhone’s passcode security system. Yesterday, Apple filed its official objection to the ruling.

“We are a staunch advocate of privacy,” Cook told shareholders. “Being hard doesn’t scare us.”

The showdown with the government over the data contained on San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook has dominated everything Apple has done lately. Authorities have put the company in the unenviable position of having to choose between defending the privacy and security safeguards its customer expect and appearing to support terrorism, as some have claimed. Apple’s response has been to go on the offensive and defend its position at every opportunity, including its annual shareholder meeting.

Cook appeared on ABC World News Tonight earlier this week to make its case, and he admitted that the company’s position was difficult, but it was ultimately the right call.

Investigators claim that they will only use the software they’re asking for on the phone involved in this case, but other officials, like the Manhattan District Attorney, expect to use a ruling against Apple to compel it to unlock hundreds of other phones in their custody.

It wasn’t all gloom and politics, however; Cook also fit some numbers into the meeting. The company has bought up 19 companies over the past year, including some that have developed mapping software and, even more interestingly, one that specializes in augmented reality. Apple has also spent $8.5 billion in research and development this year.

Apple and law enforcement will appear in front of Congress on March 1 to make their cases.

Via: USA Today


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