Tim Cook says he's 'offended' by government smears in latest Time cover story

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In a Time Magazine interview published on Thursday, Apple CEO Tim Cook railed against the U.S. government's approach to the battle over encryption, claiming he was "offended" by statements leveled against the company, as well as the way the government is pursuing data from the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter.

"And so do I like their tactics? No. I don't," Cook said. "I'm seeing the government apparatus in a way I've never seen it before. Do I like finding out from the press about it? No. I don't think it's professional. So do I like them talking about, or lying, about our intentions? No. I'm offended by it. Deeply offended by it."

The comment appears to be a specific reference to a recent Justice Department brief, accusing Apple of building iOS 8 and 9 security with the express intent of thwarting government warrants and other requests for data access. Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell recently said the filing "reads like an indictment," and echoed Cook's language, calling the document "deeply offensive."

Cook restated many of his company's arguments against building a passcode limit crack for the FBI, notably suggesting however that the world is in a "golden age of surveillance," and that the idea of encryption of causing the world to "go dark" for law enforcement and spy agencies is a myth.

"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," he later remarked, nevertheless remaining optimistic that the situation is temporary and Apple's position will ultimately triumph.

A March 22 court hearing is set to review the court order asking Apple to build the passcode crack. That's just one day after special press event where the company is expected to showcase a new 4-inch iPhone as well as a new 9.7-inch iPad and more Apple Watch bands.