Tim Cook Tells NSA That Good Guys Shouldn’t Get Backdoors



/ 3 years ago

Tim Cook, after Macworld Expo 2009 keynote

Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken out against proposals for backdoors in encrypted systems for intelligence agencies to exploit. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live technology conference in Laguna Beach, California, Cook spoke out in support of encryption and posited that any backdoor would never benefit just “the good guys”.

“You can’t have a back door in the software because you can’t have a back door that’s only for the good guys,” Cook told the events audience.

Cook’s speech occurred shortly after NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers took to the stage to talk about encryption. Rogers, responding to a question regarding his previous statement – “strong encryption is in our nation’s best interest” – as to whether he supported impenetrable encryption, said “That’s not what I said, strong encryption is in our nation’s best interests,” adding, “Security, encryption: good. The ability to generate insights as to criminal behavior and threats to our nation’s security, also good.”

But Cook disputed the idea that privacy and national security were mutually exclusive, saying, “Nobody should have to decide privacy and security. We should be smart enough to do both,” branding any compromise of user privacy as a “cop-out.”

“Both of these things were essential parts of our Constitution. It didn’t say prioritize this one above all of these,” he said. “I mean, these guys were really smart folks and they held all of these things and said all of these are what it means to be an American,” Cook added. “It will become increasingly more important to more and more people over time as they realize that intimate parts of their lives are in the open and being used for all sorts of things.”

Image courtesy of Valery Marchive.

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