Apple CEO Cook defends decision to fight DOJ on iPhone ‘backdoor’

Asked by a participant at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting to comment on accusations that it wasn’t fully cooperating with the investigation into an Islamic terrorist attack at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida this past December, Apple CEO Tim Cook again defended the decision not to introduce a so-called “backdoor” to its products that would give law enforcement greater access to the tech giant’s devices during criminal investigations.

Daniel Howley for Yahoo Finance:

iPhone backdoor - iPhone passcode lock screen
iPhone passcode lock screen
“We have supplied all of the information we have on all of the requests we have received,” [Cook] said. “Don’t think for a second that we have something that we aren’t giving.”

“You put a backdoor in your house and anyone can come in the backdoor. And so the phone is the same way,” he told shareholders…

It’s not just Cook who opposes a backdoor mechanism for devices like the iPhone. Security experts across the spectrum say such a move would immediately create an exploitable vulnerability in Apple’s devices, putting the privacy of every user around the world at risk.

What’s more, if Apple gave the U.S. access to a backdoor, authoritarian regimes such as the Chinese government could use the tool to spy on dissenters.

As Cook himself explained, “You can never have a backdoor just for the good guys.”

MacDailyNews Take: That no “backdoor” would be secure is blatantly obvious to even the most painfully dimwitted, so, therefore, those demanding these mythical “backdoors” must really want insecure devices that they can access at any time, for any reason whenever they conjure up a warrant and a judge to rubber stamp it.

Cook’s most lasting legacy, we hope, will be protecting users’ right to privacy even in the face of overreaching governments.

Why don’t these genius politicians next attempt to legislate in purple unicorns? They’re equally as plentiful as secure backdoors.MacDailyNews, October 3, 2018

Simple logic dictates that an iPhone backdoor would risk the privacy and security of every single iPhone user on earth. It would also risk Apple’s sales worldwide. If Apple created backdoors to their products, sales of iPhones, iPads, Macs, etc. would drop dramatically.

What we really want to see Apple do next is to better explain the basics of this issue to the general public… There is no such thing as a secure “master key” or “backdoor.”MacDailyNews, January 28, 2020

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

This is not about this phone. This is about the future. And so I do see it as a precedent that should not be done in this country or in any country. This is about civil liberties and is about people’s abilities to protect themselves. If we take encryption away… the only people that would be affected are the good people, not the bad people. Apple doesn’t own encryption. Encryption is readily available in every country in the world, as a matter of fact, the U.S. government sponsors and funds encryption in many cases. And so, if we limit it in some way, the people that we’ll hurt are the good people, not the bad people; they will find it anyway. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, February 2016


  1. For most of my lifetime, the difference between conservatives and liberals was that conservatives trusted free markets and free individuals more than they trusted the Government, particularly the Federal Government. Now we suddenly have unabashed liberals like Tim Cook defying the Government to uphold personal freedom, and alleged conservatives demanding that we surrender our rights because “they’re from the Government and they’re here to help us.”

    What would Barry Goldwater or William F. Buckley say if they heard a Federal official claim that “Article II lets the President do whatever he likes” or “the authority of the President cannot be questioned?” The insistence that everybody be required to place a house key near their front door for use by the Government (with the assurance that nobody will misuse their access to the key) is the antithesis of conservatism… besides just being loonie.

      1. But you sidestepped the actual criticism, Fwhatever, which is that the GOPno longer has any credible claim to the moral or ethical high ground when it comes to the rights of the individual over the power of the federal government.

        If you have even a single fiber of honesty in your body, then you must face up to the severe shortcomings and corruption in the Trump Administration. If you fail to do so (as you have in sidestepping the issue above), then you can no longer claim kinship with the Conservative heritage of this country.

  2. There’s a troubling staring-us-in-the-face all the time aspect of this that I have not seeing discussed anywhere yet. We know they don’t really need Apple to do this for this particular case; it’s a pretext that they hope within a year or 2 of similar asks the tech companies will give in. But the troubling aspect is their banning Huawei from 5G, and hysterical efforts to get the U.K. also to ban Huawei on the pretext that the Chinese can invade users privacy. But that’s not really what they want (& which the British don’t believe anyway), but so THEY themselves can invade user privacy. What they want in a few years time is a complete ban on devices that have not given them access to a back-door. Banning Huawei now is part of that.

    1. “…ban Huawei on the pretext that the Chinese can invade users privacy.” That’s not the reason. It’s that Huawei will allow the Chinese government to intercept and possibly interfere with any communications including government non secure communications. The concern is that the hardware and firmware put forth by Huawei will allow various forms of man-in-the-middle attacks.

  3. Insightful angle, that banning a foreign company is a proving ground for banning domestic companies just as I suspect the CIA’s illegal shenanigans overseas were and are test cases for potential implementation in the US or GCHQ’s in GB.

  4. I truly do NOT UNDERSTAND WTF the gov wants/does:
    the POLICE has the f’g Orwellian ISRAELI software CelleBrite
    to BREAK/Crack/Access all info on ANY Phone?!!

    so WTF does the gov/police then need manufacturers/telcoms to open up anything for,
    that’s hypocritical democracy and MAKES EVERYTHING INSECURE! Opens CANS of Worms!!

    gov should grow up!
    1. don’t wish for civilian revolt? please them!
    give them roof/food/health/bit of freedom
    2. “Those who would give up essential LIBERTY to purchase a little temporary safety
    DESERVE neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin 1759

    how stupid/irresponsible can even Democracy, the most modern government form yet, be?!
    do we need to replace all gov. forms?
    is there a better system or are all systems intrinsically bad/inefficient/unjust/immature/tech-savvy?

    so far there’s only 1 nation who’s gov is fully digital/online! ; ( Estonia!

  5. «/…such a move would immediately create an exploitable vulnerability in Apple’s devices, putting the privacy of every user around the world at risk.
    …What’s more, if Apple gave the U.S. access to a backdoor, authoritarian regimes such as the Chinese government could use the tool to spy on dissenters. /»

    I’m sure the the POTUS doesn’t want to give the Chinese and Russian governments access to the contents of his iPhones.

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