Skip to main content

Tim Cook and US Government clash over encryption

In a continued effort to support encryption, Tim Cook has urged the US government to adopt Apple's stance on backdoors built into software and websites.

Apple is firmly against technology companies building backdoors into their systems because of the potential security threats they could pose to users.

Cook met with US attorney general Loretta Lynch at a recent meeting between US administration officials and a number of technology companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Twitter, Dropbox, Cloudfare and Apple. He was very agitated when Lynch suggested that the encryption software being developed by technology companies might have backdoors built into it in order to prevent terrorists from using encrypted messages to communicate. The US attorney general responded to Cook by emphasising that a balance between privacy and national security needed to be struck to protect US citizens.

Cook and Apple have firmly stood by their users right to encryption and privacy when using Apple devices. During a court case in September of 2015, Apple refused to comply with a court order to submit texts sent using iMessage between two phones because of the encryption built into the popular messaging platform. FBI director James Comey was very concerned about Apple's inclusion of end-to-end encryption in iMessage.

Overall Cook has stood firm in his support of encryption on consumer devices and has not wavered despite the continual attacks on the security technology by politicians and law enforcement.

Apple worked together with its biggest competitors Microsoft and Google alongside Samsung, Twitter, Facebook and 56 other technology companies to defend encryption when many governments pushed for weaker encryption and backdoors into messaging platforms following the recent attacks in Paris.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kentoh

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.