Apple’s face-off with the FBI is close to finishing its second week, and CEO Tim Cook is doing an admirable job of holding his ground, despite the fact that most Americans support the FBI’s position, according to survey results published by the Pew Research Center on Monday. In an interview with ABC on Thursday, Cook reaffirmed his belief that helping the FBI break through the iPhone’s encryption would be bad for both Apple and the American people, even going so far as to call the software required to break the iPhone’s encryption the “equivalent of cancer.”
Tim Cook isn’t budging on Apple’s faceoff with the FBI. In an interview with ABC’s David Muir that aired Wednesday, Cook said the government shouldn’t be able to force Apple to compromise the privacy of hundreds of millions of iPhone users in order to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone. He said it would force Apple to create “the software equivalent of cancer.” The FBI wants Apple to help investigators bypass the code on a phone that belonged to Syed Farook, one of the shooters in a December 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California that left 14 dead and 22 injured. The matter is now tied up in court, and it has put Cook in the spotlight of a tense national debate about balancing security with privacy. Apple has argued that coding a “back door” into the iPhone would compromise the security of hundreds of millions of its customers. Muir asked Cook if he has “any concern that you might be able to prevent another terrorist attack by breaking into that phone.” Cook responded by saying, “Some things are hard, and some things are right, and some things are both. This is one of those things.” He argued that the software would compromise sensitive information — such as financial data, health records and “the location of our kids.” “This would be bad for America. It would also set a precedent that I think many people in America would be offended by,” Cook says.