WASHINGTON – Opposition to back door access to encrypted information by intelligence agencies was defended by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
In an interview for “60 Minutes” broadcast, Cook said “There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.”
A renewed push by politicians and law enforcement has come in the wake of the November 13 terrorist attacks on Paris, when attackers were said to have used encrypted devices to coordinate and execute attacks outside the purview of government surveillance.
While the interview with Cook had been filmed prior to the Paris attack, the CEO has since emphasized his support for protecting encryption, saying the choice between privacy and national security was a false one.
“I don’t believe the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security,” he said, adding that’s an “overly simplistic view…We’re America. We should have both.”
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) has been a contentious issue in the tech community over the past year. The measure allows for direct sharing of consumer data and information with the surveillance community. Many provisions in previous versions of the bill which called for anonymity of that data were stripped out of the version of the bill which passed as a part of the omnibus budget.
“Organizations can now directly share raw data with several agencies with no protection or anonymity,” said engineer Joseph Pizzo with Norse Security. “There may have been a small cost associated with anonymizing the data, but now that this requirement has been removed and organizations may feel that they’re helping, I don’t foresee any work moving forward to protect consumer data.”
Candidates including Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have advocated for the ability for intelligence agencies to circumvent encryption during the 2016 presidential campaign.