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In a highly revealing interview with CBS’ Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes, Apple’s CEO has once again delivered a robust defense of encryption, underscoring the inherent importance of the technology.
When asked what he thought of the analogy of the current situation being akin to the government having a search warrant but incapable of unlocking the trunk, Tim Cook was firm in his opposition to weakening encryption.
He explained that if there is a way to get into a device, then at some point, someone will figure a way of doing just that. Encryption, in its strictest sense, offers security against this.
“There have been people that suggest that we should have a backdoor,” Mr. Cook said. “But the reality is if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.”
When presented with the argument that the government needs to access encrypted information in matters of national security and in instances of criminal activity, Apple’s CEO was forced to reiterate what he has previously said – it still lacks the technical ability to access this data.
However, from a legal point of view, if issued with a warrant, the company would willingly respond to lawful requests (the understanding being that encrypted information is not Apple’s property to give away).“I don’t believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security. We’re America. We should have both.”
“I don’t believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security,” he continued when Mr. Rose asked him about how you get over the “government’s dilemma”. “We’re America. We should have both.”
This echoes his previous comments on the importance of both privacy and security – he sees them as not only being compatible with one another, but as essential elements of the US constitution.
“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,” Mr. Cook commented back in October at the WSJDLive in California.
“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.”
Author Narinder Purba, We Live Security