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Security And Privacy Above All: Apple Employees To Resist, Quit If Forced To Create iPhone Encryption Backdoor

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In the event that the FBI wins the legal battle with Apple over the iPhone involved in the San Bernardino shooting, it could have another hurdle to face: the engineers themselves.

According to the New York Times, some Apple employees say that they'll refuse to work should the U.S. government force the company to develop a backdoor or a completely new iOS to bypass the handset's security measures, which they refer to as "GovtOS." Others even went as far as to say that they're going to quit instead of complying what they consider to be an affront to the software they've worked hard on to be "impossible to unlock."

The Cupertino brand says that six to 10 engineers are necessary to create what the government wants, and it'll take about a month to produce it. However, if the staff members who had a hand in the security's development do indeed quit or stop working, then the program will be considerably difficult to develop.

Also, the engineers arguably have the upper hand in this matter, as they can easily find a spot in other companies that understand their stance in the legal kerfuffle.

"If someone attempts to force them to work on something that's outside their personal values, they can expect to find a position that's a better fit somewhere else," Window Snyder, former senior product manager of the security and privacy division at Apple, says.

Apple and the U.S. Justice Department are scheduled to face each other in court on Tuesday, a day after the company's March 21 event where the iPhone 5SE and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro are expected to premiere.

While the sentiments of Apple CEO Tim Cook is in plain view via an open customer letter, Time got in touch with the executive to hear out what else he has to say, a few days before the courtroom battle.

"We're in this bizarre position where we're defending the civil liberties of the country against the government ... I never expected to be in this position. The government should always be the one defending civil liberties. And there's a role reversal here," Cook tells Time.

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