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Apple CEO Tim Cook was on ABC News last night, spending some time with reporter David Muir in his minimalist Cupertino, California office discussing the FBI case and how the government’s demands risk undermining every iPhone owner’s security.

For those who didn’t have the time to sit through the 60-minute interview, Cook reiterated Apple’s stance that the government’s demand that it create a one-off version of iOS with decreased security to help get data off the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c sets a dangerous precedent, likening it to “the software equivalent of cancer.”

Hard decisions

“The victims of the attack and their families have our deepest sympathy,” Cook said. “What they’ve been through, no one should have to go through.” However, the FBI’s demands are both hard and wrong, he said.

“Some things are hard,” Cook responded. “And some things are wrong. And some things are both. This is one of those things.”

Setting a dangerous precedent

Cook went on to argue that protecting users’ data is important for his company and that assisting the FBI could expose people to “incredible vulnerabilities.“

“This is not something we would create,” he said “This would be bad for America and set a precedent that many people in America would be offended by.”

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“Software equivalent of cancer”

“The only way to get information—at least currently, the only way we know—would be to write a piece of software that we view as sort of the equivalent of cancer,” said Cook.

“We think it’s bad news to write. We would never write it. We have never written it—and that is what is at stake here,” he said. “We believe that is a very dangerous operating system.”

Cook is right.

If this thing gets created and then leaks, everyone would want to get their hands on it and have the power to perform brute-force passcode attacks on any iPhone in the wild.

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“Trampling” civil liberties

Apple is opposing a federal judge’s request last week to create a one-off version of iOS to unlock the shooter’s iPhone 5c. Cook said creating a backdoor into the iPhone would put hundreds of millions of its customers at risk and “trample” civil liberties.

“If a court can ask us to write this piece of software, think about what else they could ask us to write—maybe it’s an operating system for surveillance, maybe the ability for the law enforcement to turn on the camera,” Cook said.

“I don’t know where this stops. But I do know that this is not what should be happening in this country.”

Check out the full interview below.

“Not about one phone”

“This case is not about one phone,” underscored the Apple CEO.

“This case is about the future,” he added. “If we knew a way to get the information on the phone—that we haven’t already given—if we knew a way to do this, that would not expose hundreds of millions of other people to issues, we would obviously do it. Our job is to protect our customers.”

Apple did provide the FBI with the shooter phone’s iCloud backup. iCloud backups are encrypted but Apple holds the encryption keys so it can unlock data after receiving a valid court order.

So, how did Cook do?

By the way, nice office, Tim!

Source: ABC News

  • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • SteveJay

    Tim Cook was brilliant in this interview. As a non American, I have a Question: Why on earth FBI is allowed to spy on me, a non US citizen? I know that Apple is an American Company but, I didn’t bought this device in America, so in case if all things goes down in FBI favor, aren’t they breaking some valueable international privacy laws…?

    • Victor J. Lockwood

      Wow, Never thought about it that way. You got a good point there!

  • redsymphony

    Would this not get the iPhone banned in countries like China, knowing that the phone has a backdoor anyone could be spied on

  • What would happen if Tim Cook refuses? How are we affected? How is Tim Cook affected? How is the company affected?

    • TechToch

      It all depends on the judge

      • What could be some possible outcomes? Could they freeze apple and force its servers to shut down?

      • TechToch

        Nah that will never happen I think they will force apple to unlock the phones or they will just say for the fbi that their request is not accepted…

  • n0ahcruz3

    This is just purely business.. If they hand out any software that can unlock any iphones then China, russia etc will definitely be concerned. And obviously there’s a chance that those countries will banned iphones. My 2¢

    • SteveJay

      If privacy it’s their business, then it’s a good business (for the customers) because other companies sell your information and have lots of backdoors and they didn’t get banned in China, Russia, etc…

      Google with Android sells users information. Android itself it’s hard to evaluate the whole thing because different rom’s from different brands have different kinds of backdoors (lets take Samsung and LG as an example, where they extract users information for .. “ads purposes…”

      Windows, well… has a confirmed backdoor since ever… so… yup… lets say that it’s “business..”

  • Skoven

    While i totally agree that Apple should not create this software, making the argument that “bad guys” (aka. hackers) will be able to get access totally depends on the way Apple implements the software (if you consider the government a good guy that is).
    I have absolutely no doubt that if Apple creates this software, then THE ONLY WAY Apple would implement it is like this:
    Apple HAS to sign iOS software, in order for it to be installed/updated on an iPhone.
    If Apple where to keep a local signing-server for this purpose alone, then the authorities would have to show up at Apple in order to get the hackable iOS version on the phone. That also means that hackers wont be able to use the hackable iOS version, just like iPhone users aren’t able to downgrade to a previous iOS version, even it they have the firmware.

    There we go… the masses are safe, but the government (with a warrant in their hands) will be able to get access.

    still a shitty deal and a very slippery slope though.

  • iPhoneWINS

    good luck apple

  • Manuel Molina

    And this is the things that make we think back to why I like my iPhone over Google and Android.

  • I am perplexed that people don’t understand this. I know people are upset and our emotions are getting in front of our judgement. People need to stop and think… we open our locks, change our lights, open our garage doors, view our security cameras, change our thermostats, hold our financial information, where we go… pretty much every remote control all in our phones. To create a hack or be forced to would put ALL of that info for ALL Americans at risk… and I would argue that creating a backdoor could actually cause a terrorist attack. What if hackers could hack into govt officials iPhones and get sensitive data to plan terrorist attacks… I can’t believe people are so ignorant… but then Donald Trump is winning an primary!!!

    • Victor J. Lockwood

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Definitely one hell of a slippery slope!

  • John Smith

    is the office cook’s or the journalist’s? nvm read the last line