The tech community has been at odds over giving the government access to encrypted information on smartphones. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook revealed his thoughts in an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday night.
He’s standing strong on his company’s decision to protect users’ privacy. “I don’t believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security,” he said. “I think that’s an overly simplistic view. We’re America. We should have both.”
Companies like Google and Apple among others have asked the government to stay away from encrypted data in mobile devices and computers or risk undermining information security, according to ABC News. Cook said that people should be able to protect their personal data on their smartphones, like financial and health information, conversations with family and friends and even business secrets.
“There’s likely health information, there’s financial information” on your smartphone, said Cook. “There are intimate conversations with your family, or your co-workers. There’s probably business secrets and you should have the ability to protect it. And the only way we know how to do that, is to encrypt it.”
“Why is that? It’s because if there’s a way to get in, then somebody will find the way in,” he went on. “There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.”
However, the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif. and Paris have brought more and more attention on tech companies and what they can do to provide government agencies with access to encrypted communications–a way in which terrorists are believed to plan attacks and recruit followers.
President Barack Obama said he would urge the hi-tech and law enforcement leaders “to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice.” Even the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has asked for more conversation on encryption of communications.
Comey said that technology could get in the way of the public’s safety, according to PC World. He also stated that the government would attempt to tackle the problem through industry negotiations rather than through legislation.
But again, Cook was firm in his company’s stance. “Well if, if the government lays a proper warrant on us today then we will give the specific information that is requested. Because we have to by law. In case of encrypted communication, we don’t have it to give,” he said.
Apparently, Cook was interviewed before the Paris attacks, according to CBS, but he his stance has not changed.
In 2014, Apple announced that it would turn on encryption for iOS 8 automatically, meaning that law enforcement would have to have a person’s passcode to access any iPhone data.