Apple CEO Tim Cook is strongly pushing for the American government to put a “no backdoors” policy in place with regards to encryption. Like many prominent technology executives, Cook is fighting to protect the privacy of millions of Americans when they use personal electronic devices.
Cook stated his opinion at a recent meeting between government officials and technology companies. Besides Apple, other companies that were also represented at the meeting included Google, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Twitter, Dropbox and Cloudflare.
Reports indicate that Cook was extremely displeased when the government officials suggested that the technology companies put “backdoors” into their encryption technologies. According to United States officials, these backdoors would be used in crime investigation and to combat terrorism. However, privacy advocates have been strongly fighting the move.
Most notably, a fiery exchange was said to have taken place between Cook and United States attorney general Loretta Lynch. During the exchange, Lynch stressed the need to find a proper balance between privacy and national security.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has clashed with American agencies over encryption practices. In September of last year, Apple told United States officials that it could not hand over texts in court order because of its strong encryption technology. And in 2014, FBI director James Comey criticized the company for its usage of end-to-end encryption in its phones.
Comey said at the time, “The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened, even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order, to me does not make any sense.”
However, Cook has warned of the serious consequences that would come about through sacrificing the right to privacy through encryption. According to Cook, opening the door to government officials would also allow access by criminal hackers as well.
Cook said in June of 2015, “Some in Washington are hoping to undermine the ability of ordinary citizens to encrypt their data. We think this is incredibly dangerous. If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too. Criminals are using every technology tool at their disposal to hack into people’s accounts. If they know there’s a key hidden somewhere, they won’t stop until they find it. Removing encryption tools from our products altogether, as some in Washington would like us to do, would only hurt law-abiding citizens who rely on us to protect their data.”
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris late last year, Apple joined forces with several other technology companies to reject demands to weaken encryption.