Apple urges Obama to block government snooping

By

Apple has taken steps to avoid snooping.
Apple has taken steps to avoid snooping.

Apple has put its name to a letter which will be sent today, appealing to the White House to protect individual privacy rights in the face of suggestions that law enforcement should be able to access encrypted smartphone data via a backdoor.

“Strong encryption is the cornerstone of the modern information economy’s security,” argues the letter, which is signed by more than 140 tech companies, technologists, and civil society groups.

Apple has been at the forefront of efforts to protect user data, with iOS 8’s updated security measures making it impossible for Apple to surrender your data to cops — even if the company wanted to. Before this, Apple could access a significant amount of data on any iOS device if approached with a seized device and a valid search warrant.

Tim Cook has been particularly outspoken about his belief in users’ right to privacy. “We don’t read your emails, we don’t read your messages, we find it unacceptable to do that,” he told German newspaper BILD (paywall) back in March — adding that, “I don’t want people reading mine!”

He made a similar point during a 2014 interview with the Telegraph newspaper in the U.K., in which he commented that:

“None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.”

But Apple’s stance has raised the ire of many involved with law enforcement. “There’s no doubt that all of us should care passionately about privacy, but we should also care passionately about protecting innocent people,” FBI Director James B. Comey said recently during a roundtable with reporters.

Comey has also argued that pro-privacy moves like Apple’s put the company in the unfortunate position of marketing “something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”

We’ll keep you updated on the fallout of today’s letter.

Source: Washington Post