Apple CEO At Odds With NSA Over Data Privacy, Refuses To Provide Encryption Backdoors
Apple chief Tim Cook said at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, that the technology company will not provide backdoors into its encrypted products.Advertisement
“We said no backdoor is a must,” Cook said at the conference. “Do we want our nation to be secure? Of course. No one should have to decide between privacy or security. We should be smart enough to do both. Both of these things are essentially part of the Constitution.”
The National Security Agency (NSA) and government officials have been arguing that the tech companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft should provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies with keys to bypass their encrypted products. NSA Director Admiral, Michael Rogers, said that he sees the Islamic State using cyber attacks as a “weapons system,” something that is inevitable. “Security, encryption: good. The ability to generate insights as to criminal behavior and threats to our nation’s security, also good,” he said at the Wall Street Journal’s conference, as reported by Bloomberg.
The Obama administration had previously found that providing a backdoor to encrypted products could expose devices to potential attacks at the hands of China, Russia, and terrorists, as reported by the New York Times. At the conference, Cook expressed a similar opinion, saying, “You can’t have a backdoor in the software because you can’t have a backdoor that’s only for the good guys.
“We think privacy will be increasingly important to more people over time as they realize intimate parts of their lives are in the open and being used for all sorts of things. We think encryption is a must in today’s world. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but that’s what it is. Every day, you’re reading about another thing going on. Things happen every day. How do you address that for the mainstream customer?”
While Rogers emphasized that a balance between national security and privacy should be maintained, and highlighted the potential cyber threats that the U.S. faced, Cook cited the Constitution, saying it “didn’t say prioritize this one above all of these. I mean, these guys were really smart folks and they held all of these things and said all of these are what it means to be an American.” He also focused on the importance of consumer privacy. “It will become increasingly more important to more and more people over time as they realize that intimate parts of their lives are in the open and being used for all sorts of things,” he said.