Apple Inc has asked the United States government to set up a panel of experts to discuss the implications of its demand that the company unlocks an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The tech giant said that it will "gladly participate" in such an effort that will focus on issues such as national security and personal freedom.

In an email sent out to employees on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured above) wrote, “This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation, so when we received the government’s order we knew we had to speak out.” He said the Federal Bureau of Investigation's demand will put "the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people at stake" and set a dangerous precedent. The company has decided to challenge a court order that asked it help the FBI hack into San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook’s iPhone.

Defending the agency's demand, FBI Director James Comey on Sunday said they “simply” want Apple to help them get the passcode to unlock the terrorist’s phone. “The San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message. It is about the victims and justice,” he said. A few victims of the San Bernardino shooting will also file a legal brief in March in support of the US government’s move to force Apple to unlock the encrypted iPhone.