Ahead of next week's hearing on whether the US Department of Justice can force Apple to help the FBI access an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, the tech giant's chief exec has issued a strong warning on what this could mean for the US.
In an interview with Time, Apple boss Tim Cook said if the company is eventually forced to comply with the FBI's wishes, "first of all it's bad for the United States".
"Because going against us doesn’t just mean going against us," he continued.
"It means likely banning, limiting or forcing back doors for [everyone]. I think it makes the US much more vulnerable. Not only in privacy but also in security. The national infrastructure, everything."
Cook said he had "never expected to be in this position", adding: "I still feel like I’m in another world a bit, that I’m in this bad dream."
However, he seemed confident that most people in the US would not want the decision to go in favour of the government, and said he doesn't expect that to happen because "there’s too many bright people around".
He also confirmed that Apple would continue to stand their ground against the government and the FBI.
"At the end of the day, we’re going to fight the good fight not only for our customers but for the country," said Cook. "We’re in this bizarre position where we’re defending the civil liberties of the country against the government. Who would have ever thought this would happen?"