Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes It Clear That He's Not At All Interested In Giving The Government Backdoors To iOS Encryption

from the good-for-him dept

On Friday morning, we noted that the CEOs of Google, Facebook and Yahoo had declined to appear at the President’s cybersecurity summit at Stanford, but that Apple CEO Tim Cook was going. However, we pointed out that all signs suggested Cook was going to send a message that he wasn’t going to give in and allow the government a backdoor to iOS encryption. Cook had recently noted that the government “would have to cart us out in a box” before Apple would add a backdoor. And, indeed, speaking right before President Obama’s speech, Cook delivered a strong defense of encryption and privacy:

?We believe deeply that everyone has a right to privacy and security,? said Cook. ?So much of our information now is digital: photos, medical information, financial transactions, our most private conversations. It comes with great benefits; it makes our lives better, easier and healthier. But at Apple, we have always known this also comes with a great responsibility. Hackers are doing everything they can to steal your data, so we?re using every tool at our disposal to build the most secure devices that we can.?


?People have trusted us with their most personal and private information and we must give them the best technology we can to secure it,? said Cook. ?Sacrificing our right to privacy can have dire consequences. We live in a world where people are not treated equally. There are people who don?t feel free to practice their religion, express their opinion or love who they choose. Technology can mean the difference between life and death.?


?If we don?t do everything we can to protect privacy, we risk more than money,? said Cook. ?We risk our way of life.?

It’s great to see tech companies taking a stronger and stronger stand in protecting the privacy of their users and customers. Once again, thank Snowden for actually making this an issue that companies actually need to care about.

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Comments on “Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes It Clear That He's Not At All Interested In Giving The Government Backdoors To iOS Encryption”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

gubmint needs to be able to spy on its citizens.

They know they are steering USA to destruction, they need to be able to spy on the people considering the idea that they would defend this nation and its ideals.

Ever notice how its bigotry to ask someone to speak your own language in your own country but not bigotry for someone to illegally enter, perform identity theft to survive & refuse to speak the common language of the land?

Sun Tzu knows what the fuck is up. All war is deception… and with the US government deceiving everyone left and right it only means they are at war!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

you must not read much history do you?

DHS is actively asking fellow citizens to spy on each other “See something, say something” they even have fucking posters printed for.

NSA/FBI/Local Joe’s has been actively spying on the US citizenry with ever increasing vigor.

Sure I have a tin foil hat… I wear it when I want to have fun… but you are sort of idiot that has to wait until people are loaded onto trains and shipped to concentration camps before you “realize” something is damn wrong.

scotts13 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“DHS is actively asking fellow citizens to spy on each other “See something, say something” they even have fucking posters printed for.”

I remember growing up in the 50’s very well. We were constantly told how horrible life in Soviet Russia was, with the government watching everything you did, and encouraging neighbor to turn in neighbor, and child to turn in parent.

Sound familiar?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yea, this….these phones/tablets (and androids, this isn’t just an apple thing) are some of the least secure devices out of the box which you can get. It’s a nice sentiment, but howsabout we work on locking down the devices a bit out of the box before we worry about what the government is trying to do on the back end?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Feel like backing that up a bit?
There’s a reason that jailbreaks are getting harder and harder to perform — it’s because the security holes required to do them are getting harder and harder to find.

But that’s securing Apple’s part of the solution. What about user’s data?

Well, turns out that end-to-end encryption is default now. That means that out of the box, Apple’s iOS devices are some of the most secure computing platforms you can get right now.

Of course, the moment you install any apps, you’ve lost that security, as you have no way short of an external firewall of preventing those apps from communicating with whoever they want. The security model is fairly good in limiting what information the apps have access to, but you still have to assume that if the app has access to your address book and location data, that means the app’s creator (and anyone with access to their encryption key/access to their communication protocol) ALSO has full access to your address book and location data, and can read/modify it all they like. Because there’s no (easy) way to verify that they don’t.

But yeah… android devices are pretty insecure out of the box, but iOS devices are actually pretty good — and you can opt out of most of the iCloud stuff if you don’t want a public persistent data store of all your data.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Anyone that knows anything about security knows that the biggest security threat to any device is the user. Your Apple fanboism is sicking and your bold claims are even more disgusting.

I’m impartial btw to both Apple and Android, but your assumptions about the current state of general security is just flat out WRONG.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, after installing a custom rom on my Android device I eliminated 80% of all malware that comes preinstalled on most apple and android devices. I have full control over every service that’s running and I have no need to install anything beyound my needs. All I use it for is directions and to make phone calls and that’s about it and that’s all it can do because I MADE IT SO.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Interesting

Off topic, but yeah I agree. Steve Jobs actually was sort of arrogant in my personal opinion, while I think Cook is a good mix of both Jobs and the Woz which made Apple. He’s got the geeky and the PR man in the mix. That he brought his personal experiences and actually imho basically gave the finger to the president, shows he’s at least looking out for public opinion and perhaps his users as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is great. I still think Steve Jobs would’ve been better at “standing up to the government” and such, but it’s good to see there are at least a few companies around that aren’t willing to put backdoors in their products so easily.

That said, I wonder if the “cyber threat” info that Apple agreed to give to DHS includes zero-days…because in that case the NSA has just gained FREE (temporary) “backdoors” into all of Apple’s products.

hij (profile) says:

diversity speaking

When people ask why diversity is important the quotes from the speech given above are a strong example of how diversity matters. People who come from groups outside of the “mainstream” have a different perspective and a greater understanding of the potential impacts of what they are doing. It is much easier for someone like Cook to understand the potential for violating privacy then someone whose actions have little or no repercussion with respect to the majority view.

Guardian says:

gag orders

A national security letter (18 U.S.C. § 2709), an administrative subpoena used by the FBI, has an attached gag order which restricts the recipient from ever saying anything about being served with one.[23] The government has issued hundreds of thousands of such NSLs accompanied with gag orders. The gag orders have been upheld in court

and thats just the usa ….

so he come sout against then they go order him to do so and slap a shut up or else order….

Anonymous Coward says:

Not a particular fan of apple, but at least this guy is “putting his money where his mouth is”……….which is more then i can say for others in similar positions………….the hesitation of others to make such statements makes me really think about their stances…………..this is not a wait and see, situation then expect everything to go back to normal………that just tells me you’d be willing to go against the public should the chips happen to fall that way…………instead of having the instinctual and natural disgust to this over empowering “authority” that you make damn sure everyone knew thats how you thought, through fear that if people dont speak up, that we’d sleep walk ourselves into the most capable tyrrany in history

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m not so much worried about Apple inserting backdoors into iPads and iPhones. I’m more worried about the hardware manufacturers Apple sources their components from having backdoors built into them. For example, the baseband modem chip manufacturer using closed source software drivers.

I don’t trust any hardware components unless open source software drivers are controlling them. Anything less, is security through obscurity.

streetlight (profile) says:

The louder one talks the less trustworty the message

The more we hear from Apple about how secure one’s privacy is with their devices and how much they want to continue to insist they will do nothing in the future to compromise privacy the more I wonder how many back doors they have in their equipment. Take a look at the recent planting of code in hard drive firmware as drives were allegedly intercepted during shipment as an example that Apple might not be able to do anything about the security of privacy. Apple buys hard drives by the millions and probably doesn’t know if they have been intercepted during shipment or even after they’ve been installed in a computer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The louder one talks the less trustworty the message

Man, try and purchase a hard drive that was manufactured by some company that couldn’t have had it’s firmware reverse engineered or possibly the source code given to the NSA. If you are talking about Kaspersky’s discovery, it took bloodly 14 years to reverse engineer the code to even find out. I wouldn’t even be surprised since foreign companies that were also linked, Samsung for example, to start lawsuits on behalf of the users to try and at least clear their hands of the matter. This is one of the things that going to start hopefully changing things, as other governments are going to realize that the US is actively attacking even mutual agreement companies with spyware. As the Pentagon stated in 2011, this is an act of war…

Anonymous Coward says:

that’s some great apple PR there..

I”m really sick of saying it; but no one seams to get it, or bother looking into it…

Encryption is useless because the baseband co-processor has access to main system ram. The phone company is remotely in control of the baseband- you have no authority there.

If the phone is powered off (it’s probably not- you can’t even remove iphone battery) AND the phone company hasn’t already scraped your encryption keys from ram (that’s probably automated…) then maybe it’d be of use.

yes, there’s some speculation in my theory- but if it wasn’t intended to be used in this way- why was it designed in this (highly insecure) way. sometimes a duck is a duck.

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