Apple chief Tim Cook took to the WSJDLive stage Monday night to again declare that Apple would not bake encryption backdoors into its products.
“We said no backdoor is a must,” Cook said at the Laguna Beach, California conference. “Do we want our nation to be secure? Of course.
No one should have to decide between privacy or security. We should be smart enough to do both. Both of these things are essentially part of the Constitution.”
The National Security Agency and government officials have been arguing that the nation’s security demands require the tech sector to provide law enforcement officials with a key to their encrypted consumer products. James Comey, the FBI director, announced two weeks ago that the Obama administration would not seek legislation toward that goal and instead declared that authorities would “continue conversations with industry” in a bid to guilt them into giving up their customers’ privacy.
“We think privacy will be increasingly important to more people over time as they realize intimate parts of their lives are in the open and being used for all sorts of things,” Cook said. “We think encryption is a must in today’s world. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but that’s what it is. Every day, you’re reading about another thing going on. Things happen every day. How do you address that for the mainstream customer?”
Cook noted that a backdoor wouldn’t be so bad if it only exposed “bad people.”
“But this is not the world. And so what I’m convinced of is that it’s in everyone’s best interest that everybody is blocked out,” he said.
He argued that backdoors would also fall into the hands of the bad guys, saying, “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.”
NSA Director Mike Rogers also spoke, saying that the future “is all about how do we create an environment where we can build partnerships that spans the public and private sectors.”
He said that “strong encryption is in our nation’s best interest.”
He was asked whether that meant impenetrable encryption. “That’s not what I said, strong encryption is in our nation’s best interests,” he said.
Rogers said a cyberattack against critical infrastructure was “only a matter of time.”