Recent requests made by the FBI would force the “software equivalent of cancer” on Apple, CEO Tim Cook said Wednesday. His comments come during the ongoing legal battle over an iPhone used by Syed Farook, one of the individuals responsible for the San Bernardino, Calif. mass shooting Dec. 2.
Cook said in an interview with ABC News that Apple has been very helpful during the course of the FBI’s investigation into the December incident that left 14 people dead, having already provided the bureau with everything it had on the phone, as well as the expertise of its engineers. But the FBI’s demands, and a federal judge’s associated request for the company to assist the investigation, is about much more than a single phone, according to Cook.
“This case is about the future,” he said. “What is at stake here is can the government compel Apple to write software that would make hundreds of millions of customers vulnerable around the world, including the U.S. and also trample civil liberties that are at the basic foundation of what this country was made on?”
Cook, who expressed the company’s sympathy for the families of the shooting victims, said the only way for Apple to provide more information on the phone Farook used would be to hack the phone using the software it so strongly opposes.
“We think it’s bad news to write. We would never write it. We have never written it — and that is what is at stake here,” he said.
Cook expressed concern over what type of other things Apple would be asked to do if the company writes the software that the FBI desires.
“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 the ability for the law enforcement to turn on the camera,” he said. “I don’t know where this stops. But I do know that this is not what should be happening in this country.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations