Last night we gave you a quick glimpse of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s ABC News interview, and it was clear from that 90-second clip that Cook & Co. do not plan to back down in this ongoing battle. Now, the full 30-minute interview has been released and we get our most in-depth look yet at why Apple is so vehemently opposed to complying with a court order. Earlier this month, a court demanded that Apple supply the FBI with tools that will allow it to hack into an iPhone which had previously belonged to San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook.
In the previously shared clip, Cook likened the FBI’s request to creating “the software equivalent of cancer.” The FBI has asked Apple to give it tools that might allow it to use a brute force attack in order to crack the recovered iPhone’s password security without running the risk of deleting the contents of the phone.
In his interview on Wednesday night, Cook explained why Apple is so firmly opposed to complying with the FBI’s request, which Apple has been ordered to carry out by a court.
“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 it’s the ability for law enforcement to turn on the camera. I mean, I don’t know where this stops,” Cook said. “But I do know this is not what should be happening in this country. This is not what should be happening in America. If there should be a law that compels us to do it, it should be passed out in the open, and the people of America should get a voice in that. The right place for that debate to occur is in Congress.”
Then he got to the heart of Apple’s argument: “No one would want a master key built that would turn hundreds of millions of locks. Even if that key were in the possession of the person that you trust the most, that key could be stolen. That is what this is about.”
Of course, the case isn’t quite so black and white. Public debate aside, there are not many rational people who would want a tool like this in the FBI’s hands following the Snowden leaks, since we all now know how far law enforcement is willing to go with technology like this.
But as we learned from a contributed article penned by legendary iPhone hacker Will Strafach, Apple could easily break into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone in its own labs and then pass it back to the FBI, which could then analyze the data stored on the phone.
The hacker explained exactly how it would work, and in this scenario there is no risk that the FBI might abuse the tools created to break into the phone. This would still set a dangerous precedent, which is another equally important part of this debate.
Cook gave a fantastic interview and the full video is embedded below.