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Tim Cook: We should have both privacy and security

In a debate held on Monday, Apple's CEO Tim Cook argued with government agencies over privacy and backdoor issues once again, stressing that a backdoor is not a good solution.

According to a Bloomberg report (opens in new tab), he squared off with NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live technology conference in Laguna Beach, California.

Rogers kicked things off by saying that it's just a matter of time before someone abuses the strong encryption US tech companies offer. He did say, however, that "strong encryption is in our nation’s best interest”, but when asked about impenetrable encryption, he said no.

“That’s not what I said,” he answered. “Strong encryption is in our nation’s best interests.”

“Security, encryption: good. The ability to generate insights as to criminal behaviour and threats to our nation’s security, also good,” he added. “It’s only a matter of time I believe until someone does something destructive,” Rogers said.

Tim Cook, on the other hand, defended the privacy stance, saying the issue will only become more important in the future.

“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,” Cook said.

But he also said that the US should not be forced to choose between privacy and security.

“Nobody should have to decide privacy and security. We should be smart enough to do both,” Cook told the conference, calling any compromise 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.”

But the backdoor is a big ‘no-no”: “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 said.

Sead Fadilpašić
Sead Fadilpašić

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.