Tim Cook wanted Apple to fight US DOJ in court over encryption

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 23
Speaking at Time Magazine's first-ever Time 100 Summit on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed a variety of topics, most notably saying he wished the company's encryption battle with the U.S. Department of Justice had gone to court.

Apple CEO Tim Cook at Time 100 Summit


In his Time talk, Cook claimed that privacy, and encryption have become "much more meaningful" to the U.S. public because of numerous "events," such as those affecting politics. That may have been a reference to the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, since harvested data was used to build voter profiles. There's also the fact that the Russian government used social media to influence 2016's elections.

Privacy is important, Cook remarked, because if people self-censor to avoid surveillance, it stifles freedom of expression.

Regarding that privacy, Cook sees device encryption as vital to privacy and security. Without a legal framework solidified by the courts, he believes it will remain under fire by the Department of Justice.

In 2016, Apple famously fought the FBI and DOJ over demands for a backdoor into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The company argued that it couldn't be compelled to write new code, and that doing so would fundamentally weaken the security of iOS.

In the San Bernardino case, Apple complied with warrants for data that it held within days. However, the DOJ decided that compliance in that regard wasn't enough, and got a judge to order an unlock without consulting Apple beforehand. The DOJ's case ultimately fizzled when it turned to a third-party service -- likely Cellebrite -- that successfully cracked Farook's iPhone 5c.

No useful information was gleaned from the iPhone crack by the third party.

The DOJ's campaign against Apple was "rigged," Cook said during Tuesday's interview, without elaborating on details except to point to recent revelations. Cook may have been referring to the fact that DOJ officials including present FBI Director Christopher Wray have long been angling for alternatives to end-to-end encryption, which Apple uses for services like iMessage and FaceTime. By definition, end-to-end systems can't be intercepted, even by platform creators, which some U.S. officials have said is making communications "go dark" to police and spy agencies.

The CEO also addressed the company's general political stance, for instance saying that "people have values, corporations are made of people, and therefore corporations should have values." Today's problems "cannot solely be addressed by government" and require the help of business and academia, he went on, elaborating that Apple focuses on issues in which it has "standing" -- such as immigration, the environment, and privacy -- without backing specific parties or politicians.

Apple doesn't have a PAC (political action committee) because "it shouldn't exist," Cook stated. PACs have widely been criticized for wielding stronger influence than actual public opinion.

The executive even addressed concerns that democracy is failing globally, given billions of people in poverty and the rise of authoritarians and outright fascists, even in America.

"We have to admit that what we're doing isn't working," Cook suggested, for example referencing the "no rails" technology industry. The real-world costs of some businesses aren't being accounted for, Cook charged, nevertheless admitting that he's "deeply a free-market person."

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) "isn't ideal" but does represent a "step in the right direction" for keeping privacy in check, the CEO said. Such rules may "eventually come to the U.S." he added, though observing that American businesses tend to treat any regulation as bad regulation.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    tzm41tzm41 Posts: 91member
    Cue "Timmy should stay out of politics" comments in 3...2...1
    Solicornchipracerhomie3
  • Reply 2 of 46
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,464member
    Rule number one. Don’t EVER pick a fight with politicians or the government. If they come after you, fine, fight ‘em but don’t attack them first. But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    edited April 23 gatorguycornchipJWSCmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 46
    lkrupp said:
    Rule number one. Don’t EVER pick a fight with politicians or the government. If they come after you, fine, fight ‘em but don’t attack them first. But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    Agreed. It's like arguing with idiots. You never argue with them because no one is going to know which one is which.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    1st1st Posts: 394member
  • Reply 5 of 46
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,678member
    Actually we have bigger problem than people self censoring because someone thinks someone else may listening. We have lots of people in government, media and elsewhere telling everyone if you say anything they do not agree with they will make sure you never open your month or share your thoughts again. They come after with all guns blazing, that has more harm then the possibility someone my listen in.

    The government wants everyone to think all criminals are stupid and put their criminal activities in plain view but Apple is keeping them from seeing it. The smart criminals never put anything in writing where prying eyes may see. Think Bin Laden, reason it took so long to find him, he did not use technology to communicate, he only used trusted emissaries to pass the word.
    knowitallwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 46
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 163member
    tzm41 said:
    Cue "Timmy should stay out of politics" comments in 3...2...1
    He should stay out of politics.
    SpamSandwichdonjuancornchipmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 46
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,304member
    Can we address the criminals working in and for the Governments first?
    donjuann2itivguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 46
    flydogflydog Posts: 354member
    lkrupp said:
    Rule number one. Don’t EVER pick a fight with politicians or the government. If they come after you, fine, fight ‘em but don’t attack them first. But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    Not hypocritical at all.  Apple is a US company and most of its employees reside here, as does Tim Cook.   Who cares what India or China do.
    SoliStrangeDaysracerhomie3steveauwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 46
    flydogflydog Posts: 354member

    Can we address the criminals working in and for the Governments first?
    Not before we address irrational thinking.
    chasmfastasleep
  • Reply 10 of 46
    technotechno Posts: 707member
    lkrupp said:
    ...  But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    I completely agree. It is great to have principles, as long as they don't go out the window for the chance to sell more products.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 46
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,378member
    lkrupp said:
    But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    Not at all. You have to abide by the laws of a nation. Wanting to go to court is a valid (if abused) legal process in the US, Cook is a US citizen, and Apple a US corporation.

    Leading by example is also how you best invoke the change you want. For instance, you may have a policy on your home where you wash dishes by hand to save energy and water, but I doubt that you would force that on another household. You could lead by example and talk up the reasons why, but it wouldn’t be hypocritical to go to a dinner party and let them use their dishwasher, but it would be weird if you insist to wash your silverware by hand or say you won’t attend unless they get rid of the appliance.
    StrangeDayscornchipradarthekatJWSCleftoverbaconbadmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 46
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,464member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    Not at all. You have to abide by the laws of a nation. Wanting to go to court is a valid (if abused) legal process in the US, Cook is a US citizen, and Apple a US corporation.

    Leading by example is also how you best invoke the change you want. For instance, you may have a policy on your home where you wash dishes by hand to save energy and water, but I doubt that you would force that on another household. You could lead by example and talk up the reasons why, but it wouldn’t be hypocritical to go to a dinner party and let them use their dishwasher, but it would be weird if you insist to wash your silverware by hand or say you won’t attend unless they get rid of the appliance.
    Then why is Apple being castigated for pullings apps in China and India. They’re just following the law, right? But no, Apple is criticized for not standing up to Chinese and Indian censorship in the name of “freedom”. Isn’t that a double standard being imposed by the trolls and critics?
    n2itivguymuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 46
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,378member
    lkrupp said:
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    Not at all. You have to abide by the laws of a nation. Wanting to go to court is a valid (if abused) legal process in the US, Cook is a US citizen, and Apple a US corporation.

    Leading by example is also how you best invoke the change you want. For instance, you may have a policy on your home where you wash dishes by hand to save energy and water, but I doubt that you would force that on another household. You could lead by example and talk up the reasons why, but it wouldn’t be hypocritical to go to a dinner party and let them use their dishwasher, but it would be weird if you insist to wash your silverware by hand or say you won’t attend unless they get rid of the appliance.
    Then why is Apple being castigated for pullings apps in China and India. They’re just following the law, right? But no, Apple is criticized for not standing up to Chinese and Indian censorship in the name of “freedom”. Isn’t that a double standard being imposed by the trolls and critics?
    1) When don’t trolls have double standards?

    2) Can you say Apple isn’t standing up to censorship? Just like we know they went head to head with Qualcomm, they also came to some agreement. If the US gov’t had felt a need to end encryption privacy we may have seen Apple eventually back down. I doubt that they would pull out of the US market.

    3) If Tim Cook watches porn does it make Apple a hypocrite for not being in the porn business or allowing such apps on their App Store? No? Too obtuse of an example? Well what if Cook loves the HBO series Game of Thrones? Does it make Apple a hypocrite for not wanting to make anything other than PG content (or sell via iTunes Store) for their video service? I don’t think so. 
    gatorguyStrangeDayscornchip
  • Reply 14 of 46
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,809member
    lkrupp said:
    Rule number one. Don’t EVER pick a fight with politicians or the government. If they come after you, fine, fight ‘em but don’t attack them first. But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    Oh geeze, you too? No, it isn’t. Apple is a corporate citizen of the US, and isn’t in China. In the US citizen (human and corp alike) can work to change the laws because it’s a democratic republic. Not so in China. So its
    completely appropriate for Apple to work within the system here. It’s their right. Not so in China. 
    badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 46
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,809member
    Johan42 said:
    tzm41 said:
    Cue "Timmy should stay out of politics" comments in 3...2...1
    He should stay out of politics.
    Encryption is technology, as well as political. So no, he shouldn’t. 
    edited April 23 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 46
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,902member
    tzm41 said:
    Cue "Timmy should stay out of politics" comments in 3...2...1
    Well he probably should.   At the very least he needs to keep an eye on Mac development as Apple has really missed the boat there. 

    Beyond that hat he is right when it come to privacy in general, the DOJ’s fishing expeditions and attempts to weaken privacy through the courts is disgusting.   More so than hen one considers that there has been no useful information obtained from any of these phone searches.  I really don’t know what the DOJ expects to find in somebodies cell phone.  
  • Reply 17 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,293member
    flydog said:
    lkrupp said:
    Rule number one. Don’t EVER pick a fight with politicians or the government. If they come after you, fine, fight ‘em but don’t attack them first. But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    Not hypocritical at all.  Apple is a US company and most of its employees reside here, as does Tim Cook.   Who cares what India or China do.
    Demonstrably Apple does since they are willing to bend their deep-rooted convictions to stay there. 
  • Reply 18 of 46
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,378member
    gatorguy said:
    flydog said:
    lkrupp said:
    Rule number one. Don’t EVER pick a fight with politicians or the government. If they come after you, fine, fight ‘em but don’t attack them first. But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    Not hypocritical at all.  Apple is a US company and most of its employees reside here, as does Tim Cook.   Who cares what India or China do.
    Demonstrably Apple does since they are willing to bend their deep-rooted convictions to stay there. 
    Are you saying the US and every state only has laws that are in-line with Apple’s so-called “deep-rooted convictions”?
  • Reply 19 of 46
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,809member
    techno said:
    lkrupp said:
    ...  But it is slightly hypocritical to want to fight the U.S. but turn then around and cow-tow to China and India.
    I completely agree. It is great to have principles, as long as they don't go out the window for the chance to sell more products.
    Can your principles change decades of policy of an authoritative state? If no, you're saying you should simply not sell there at all? Ok cool, if that's your position (tho let's be honest, you have absolutely no skin in the game since you don't sell a product). But it doesn't make their position of selling there despite not liking how they run things a wrong position. 
  • Reply 20 of 46
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,809member

    Johan42 said:
    tzm41 said:
    Cue "Timmy should stay out of politics" comments in 3...2...1
    He should stay out of politics.
    He should, unless he quits and goes into it full time.
    That's an idiotic sentiment. I'm involved in my municipal politics, because I'm an engaged citizen. By that daft logic I should quit my job if I want to be in politics? Uh, guy? The U.S. was envisioned as a government OF the people, BY the people...and here you are suggesting there should only be a professional politician-class super-citizen! All of which would be wealthy, of course, because the rest of us need to work. Nuts.

    Do you think about this stuff, or just pound the keyboard first?
    edited April 23 cornchipcharlituna
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