Following last December’s San Bernardino shootings, the FBI has been locked in a legal battle with Apple to force the tech giant to help them bypass the encryption on the iPhone belonging to one of the suspects – something that the Silicon Valley firm claims it is unable to do. Now, a federal judge has demanded that Apple actually develop software that will make that possible.

CEO Tim Cook has taken the fight to the people, publishing an open letter on his company’s site outlining the courts demands and the implications that giving in would have on the private data on Apple users all across the world. A choice excerpt follows:

“The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”

Under existing security features, it would take five-and-a-half years to guess every possible passcode combination, and as the company has no way to bypass this, the aforementioned judge has ordered that it basically install a backdoor that will allow the FBI, NSA and every other acronym that the U.S. government has in its arsenal to goose-step straight into the suspect’s phone, and potentially every other phone on the planet – including yours.

Head over to Apple to read the letter in full.

These are testing times for Apple, which was just overtaken by Google as the world’s most valuable company.

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