The CEOs of several major tech companies have voiced their support for Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, after he openly opposed a federal order to “build a backdoor” into the iPhone.
Cook released a statement in response to U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym’s order that Apple must help the FBI break into an encrypted iPhone that belonged to one of the suspects in the San Bernardino shooting.
Arguing that creating a way to break into an encrypted iPhone “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” Cook insisted that once “a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.”
Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey voiced his support for Cook’s decision on Thursday, writing that he and his company “stand with Tim Cook and Apple,” and “thank him for his leadership.”
Facebook issued a statement late Thursday, in which it said it will “continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems.”
“We condemn terrorism and have total solidarity with victims of terror. Those who seek to praise, promote, or plan terrorist acts have no place on our services. We also appreciate the difficult and essential work of law enforcement to keep people safe. When we receive lawful requests from these authorities we comply. However, we will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems. These demands would create a chilling precedent and obstruct companies’ efforts to secure their products.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai released a series of Tweets Wednesday in which he called Cook’s statement “important,” and said that forcing companies to enable hacking “could” compromise users’ privacy, and “could be a troubling precedent.”
WhatsApp CEO and cofounder Jan Koum released a statement on Facebook saying that he “couldn’t agree more” with Cook’s statement, and he believes tech companies “must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set.”
“I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance on privacy and Apple’s efforts to protect user data and couldn’t agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake.”
Computer programmer and 2016 Libertarian Presidential candidate, John McAfee, called the FBI’s claim that the technology to decrypt an iPhone would only be used on the San Bernardino shooting suspect’s phone “a laughable and bizarre twist of logic,” and said his team would decrypt the information on the suspect’s phone for free.
“I will, free of charge, decrypt the information on the San Bernardino phone, with my team,” McAfee said. “We will primarily use social engineering, and it will take us three weeks. If you accept my offer, then you will not need to ask Apple to place a back door in its product, which will be the beginning of the end of America.”
While White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest argued that the FBI is “simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device,” Cook said he believes that once a way to decrypt the iPhone is created, “the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”
“The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor,” Cook said. “And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”