Tim Cook: The FBI wants us to write the software equivalent of cancer

The Apple chief made his case against helping the FBI in a TV interview

Tim Cook has said the U.S. government is requiring Apple to write "the software equivalent of cancer" by demanding that it help unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

“What’s at stake here is, can the government compel Apple to write software that we believe would make hundreds of millions of customers vulnerable around the world -- including the U.S. -- and also trample civil liberties,” Cook said.

He made his remarks in a 30-minute interview that aired on ABC News Wednesday evening. The CEO was pressed repeatedly on why Apple shouldn't make an exception for a single iPhone that was used by a terrorist.

“This is not about one phone, this is about the future,” Cook said.

Besides compromising people's security, Cook said complying with the FBI would set Apple on a slippery slope that could lead to more invasive requests in future.

"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," he said.

"I don’t know where this stops, but I do know this is not what should be happening in this country."

The FBI wants Apple to write software that would allow investigators to circumvent protections on the iPhone lock screen and access information stored on a phone used by one of the perpetrators of the December mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

A magistrate judge last week ordered Apple to comply with the request, but Apple has refused and is due to file an appeal by Friday.

Such decisions shouldn't be made in courtrooms on a case by case basis, Cook said, and urged Congress to pass laws after a public debate.

"At the end of the day, we have to follow the law like everybody else," he said, suggesting Apple will go along with what legislators decide.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags applefbi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Ada Chan

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?