Tim Cook: White House should be against software ‘backdoors’

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Tim Cook
Tim Cook thinks the government needs to be strong in its pro-encryption message.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Tim Cook reportedly hit out during a meeting of White House officials with tech leaders in San Jose last week, slating the White House for its lack of leadership and insisting that the Obama administration should issue a strong public statement defending anti-encryption software.

The message Cook feels the White House ought to be giving is “no backdoors,” which would mean overruling voices like FBI director James Comey who has strongly voiced his opposition to unhackable tools like iMessage.

However, Cook’s belief that the government should stop being wishy-washy about encryption was reportedly countered during the meeting by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who responded to Cook by talking about the “balance” between privacy and national security.

Other tech companies present included representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Cloudflare, Google, Drop Box, Microsoft, and LinkedIn.

This isn’t the first time Cook has talked about the importance of privacy, and his belief in the need for strong encryption tools. During his interview with Charlie Rose on the recent “Inside Apple” episode of 60 Minutes, Apple’s CEO argued against backdoors, saying that, “If there’s a way to get in, then somebody will find the way in. There have been people that suggest that we should have a backdoor. But the reality is if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.”

Apple has also publicly criticized the U.K.’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill, a.k.a. the “snooper’s charter,” by arguing that forcing companies to create backdoors in encryption services like iMessage could, “hurt law-abiding citizens.”

Given that the whole privacy vs. national security debate is seemingly stuck at an impasse, it’s difficult not to feel Tim Cook’s frustration. Still, to me a least, it’s great to have a well-funded corporation arguing on the side of regular citizens for once.

Do you agree with Apple’s stance on encryption? Leave your comments below.

Source: The Intercept