Eddy Cue: what if FBI forces Apple to spy on users via iPhone’s camera or microphone?


Not a day goes by without one of Apple’s executives reaffirming the company’s position on encryption. In a new Spanish-language interview with Univision, Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, made the case against the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gaining additional surveillance powers.

Were the government to force Apple to create a version of iOS with decreased security, nothing would prevent it from seeking other concessions, Cue said.

“For example, one day the FBI may want us to open your phone’s camera, microphone,” he cautioned. “Those are things we can’t do now. But if they can force us to do that, I think that’s very bad.”

iPhone backdoor is a big no-no

Commenting on a court ruling demanding that Apple create a version of iOS without passcode delay and automatic wipe features, Cue reiterated Apple’s position that creating a backdoor into the iPhone would put everyone at risk.

“What they want is to give them a key to the back door of your house, and we don’t have the key. Since we don’t have the key, they want us to change the lock,” he said, according to a translation provided by Apple.

The government, he argued, does a lousy job protecting confidential data, citing an example when the government actually lost more than five million fingerprints belonging to its employees along with hundreds of millions of identification numbers

This “is happening more and more,” he said.

All the way to Supreme Court

He went on to reaffirm that Apple will fight the FBI all the way to the Supreme Court, but not only that—Apple will continue to improve security on its devices.

“We’re willing to take it wherever we have to — and such an important event needs to be settled by the Supreme Court,” Cue said.

Apple Pay security

He illustrated Apple’s stance on user security and trust by explaining some of the design decisions behind the creation of Apple Pay.

“For example, when we made Apple Pay, we did not want to have the number of the credit card, because if you keep it, and if someone steals it, they can use it anywhere,” he said. “When you use Apple Pay, instead of using that number, we use a new number every time you buy something.”

Message to San Bernardino victims

And here’s Cue’s message to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting:

I don’t have the words to give. How can you possibly hope to comfort someone who has lost a family member due to an act of terrorism? My heart aches, just thinking about something like that happening to a member of my own family.

So I understand how emotive this is, and I’m extremely sorry this should happen to anyone in the world. But that’s why we have to work to protect our devices. If we don’t do this [through encryption], it opens up terrible opportunities for terrorists and criminals who will be able to access our information.

Woz sides with Apple

Yesterday, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said he stands firmly with Apple in its fight against the FBI. The government, said the Woz, “picked the lamest case they could” to justify the expansion of the FBI’s surveillance powers.

“Verizon turned over all the phone records, all the SMS messages. So they want to take this other phone, that the two didn’t destroy, which was a work phone, and it’s so lame and worthless to expect something’s on it and get Apple to expose it,“ he said.

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, publicly warned that creating a backdoor into the iPhone would be “a serious mistake” from a standpoint of everyone’s security.

Meanwhile, a bill introduced in the California State Assembly back in January by Assembly Member Jim Cooper, and coauthored by Assembly Member James Gallagher and State Senators Patricia Bates and Isidore Hall, seeks to mandate that U.S. companies be forced to create devices and software with backdoors, threatening to fine any company that does not comply.

Source: Univision (Google Translate) via Business Insider