Apple CEO Tim Cook says iPhone-cracking software the ‘equivalent of cancer’

“In an exclusive interview with ABC News today, Apple CEO Tim Cook told ‘World News Tonight’ anchor David Muir that what the U.S. government was asking of the tech giant — to essentially create software enabling the FBI to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters — amounted to the ‘software equivalent of cancer,'” Enjoli Francis reports for ABC News.

The only way to get information — at least currently, the only way we know — would be to write a piece of software that we view as sort of the equivalent of cancer. We think it’s bad news to write. We would never write it. We have never written it — and that is what is at stake here. We believe that is a very dangerous operating system. — Apple CEO Tim Cook

“Last week, at the request of the Justice Department, a federal judge told Apple to assist law enforcement. However, the tech giant refused and vowed to fight the order, sparking a continuing fight between federal authorities and Silicon Valley. Cook today called the issue ‘complex’ but said the creation of such software would put hundreds of millions of customers at risk and ‘trample’ civil liberties,” Francis reports. “‘If a court can ask us to write this piece of software, think about what else they could ask us to write — maybe it’s an operating system for surveillance, maybe the ability for the law enforcement to turn on the camera,’ Cook said. ‘I don’t know where this stops. But I do know that this is not what should be happening in this country.'”

“Cook said that the issue was not just about privacy, but also about the public’s safety,” Francis reports. “‘This case is not about one phone,’ Cook said today. ‘This case is about the future. … If we knew a way to get the information on the phone — that we haven’t already given — if we knew a way to do this, that would not expose hundreds of millions of other people to issues, we would obviously do it. … Our job is to protect our customers.'”

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Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We are very lucky to have Tim Cook as CEO of Apple Inc.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says iPhone-cracking software the ‘equivalent of cancer’ – February 24, 2016
Apple vs. FBI iPhone battle shows users remain the weakest link in security – February 24, 2016
Apple’s fight with U.S. could speed development of devices impervious to government intrusion – February 24, 2016
Apple to argue that FBI court order violates its free-speech rights – February 24, 2016
Apple, the U.S. government, and security – February 24, 2016
Congressman Ted Lieu asks FBI to drop demand that Apple hack iPhones – February 23, 2016
In the fight to hack iPhones, the U.S. government has more to lose than Apple – February 23, 2016
Here are the 12 other cases where the U.S. government has demanded Apple help it hack into iPhones – February 23, 2016
John McAfee blasts FBI for ‘illiterate’ order to create Apple iPhone backdoor – February 23, 2016
Some family members of San Bernardino victims back U.S. government – February 23, 2016
Apple supporters to rally worldwide today against U.S. government demand to unlock iPhone – February 23, 2016
U.S. government seeks to force Apple to extract data from a dozen more iPhones – February 23, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: They’d have to cart us out in a box before we’d create a backdoor – February 22, 2016
Tim Cook’s memo to Apple employees: ‘This case is about more than a single phone’ – February 22, 2016
Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone – February 17, 2016


  1. Points in the video that impress me:

    1) The FBI never informed Apple about their filing with the court. Apple found out about it from the press. Right there, we see a disingenuous attitude from the FBI. When I read the letter FBI Director Comey posted at the Lawfare blog, I picked up on the same disingenuous attitude toward Apple as well as to We The People. It’s well worth reading Comey’s letter. It’s insulting to the intelligence of all of us.

    2) Tim Cook: “At the core of this are some of the founding principles of this our country which we should take a huge pause to trample on.” Exactly. The FBI, under Director Comey, has lost the perspective of REALLY protecting We The People. What they’re asking for, in total, is DAMAGING the future of We The People. That is exactly what the terrorists want. Terrorists would entirely love that result. The FBI blows it through ignorance and maniacal abuse of their purpose and powers. We The People suffer from the horrifying legal precedent they set. The terrorists WIN. Shame on the FBI !

    3) Davie Muir is a calm, collected, unintelligent can opener. His point and purpose in this interview is to pester, pester, pester. Thank goodness Tim Cook is up to the challenge of suffering fools with grace, patience and articulate speech. Meanwhile, having watched Charlie Rose interview Apple’s lawyer Ted Olson, Rose was vicious in his questioning from the stance of the FBI, to the point of wondering if Rose’s the FBI were holding his family for ransom by the FBI. He was that crazed in his attitude. But Ted Olson very calmly responded while never letting Rose trample on what he was saying. Cook and Olson are clearly a good match.

    Overall: This issue should be won by Apple specifically because it is about human rights, US citizen rights, civil liberties and NOT ruining the USA in puppet response to the goading of terrorists. The FBI deserves a massive black eye here, to say the least. Let’s hope the courts are wiser in their view of this situation than the sad ‘majority’ of people in the current opinion polls. I consider their opinion against Apple to be IGNORANCE, which of course is IMHO.

    I’ll also point out that among the ignorant are a few prominent technology pundits. I’m not interested in shaming them by naming them. But I am incredibly disappointed that they do NOT understand what’s as stake here. I call them fools and tools.

    1. Rewrite: Rose was vicious in his questioning from the stance of the FBI, to the point of wondering if the FBI were holding his family for ransom.

      I’ll also add that Rose looked pale as a ghost and extremely haggard, as if he was ill. What was that all about?

    2. I wonder if the President is at all reflective, has any real insight. If he had, he’d quit deferring to stronger men than him, haphazardly letting others make decisions for him, then writing pretty speeches trying to justify them. He’d start thinking things through for a change, and see more clearly the consequences of his actions. — He’d realise that his precious legacy, already a shambles, could easily become a cabinet of shame. Hope is one of his favourite words. Don’t erase Hope for millions, Mr. President. Call off the pit bulls.

    3. Love that post, thanks for making it as I don’t have TV and prefer to read this stuff than get the sound bites.

      I would like to point out something for you to consider, in my humorous way that I think you get.

      You said: “The terrorists WIN. Shame on the FBI !”
      You do realize that the FBI wants to be on the winning side.

      Have a great day.

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