Apple CEO Tim Cook has claimed hacking into an iPhone on behalf of the FBI is the software ‘equivalent of cancer’, in a no-holds barred interview with a major US TV network.
Speaking with ABC news, Cook defended Apple’s decision not to cooperate with the FBI, which wants the tech giant to hack into an iPhone belonging to the man behind last year’s San Bernardino terrorist attacks.
“This is not about one phone,” said Cook.
“This case is about the future. Can the government compel Apple to write software that we believe would make hundreds of millions of customers vulnerable around the world?”
“We need to stand tall, and stand tall on principle,” he added. “This should not be happening in America.”
The FBI asked Apple to create a new version of iOS which would allow it to crack the passcode of San Bernardino attacker. Apple has refused, with debate raging as to who is in the right.
Cook has become a staunch defender of encryption and the right to digital privacy and last week wrote an open letter claiming that creating software to hack into an individual iPhone was unconstitutional.
This stance, which has the backing of Google boss Sundar Pichai, has been dismissed by the FBI as a marketing ploy.
Allowing security services a so–called backdoor into smartphones is a flashpoint among government agencies in the US and UK, which say they are not looking to access bulk data, rather prevent terrorist attacks.
Cook’s latest intervention comes as reports suggest Apple is looking to further improve the iPhone’s security and make it impossible for agencies to demand backdoor access to smartphones and tablets.