Apple CEO Tim Cook has once again hit back at the FBI post the San Bernardino order, where the tech giant has been asked to help the agency unlock an iPhone. Giving backdoor entry to the FBI will be the "software equivalent of cancer", Cook said.
The latest statement comes from the Apple boss at a time when reports suggest that the Justice Department may want the iPhone maker to unlock more devices across varied criminal cases. In an exclusive interview to ABC, Cook left no corners untouched when it came to making a point for people's privacy that was at stake if they went through with such a procedure.
Below are edited excerpts from his interview:
A federal judge had ordered Apple to help the FBI crack an iPhone 5c used by Syed Farook, one of the San Bernardino attackers. Vital data on the phone, the FBI claims, can lead them to the handlers of Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, as they suspect them do be linked to the Islamic State (Isis).
Cook's fears may not be unwarranted as the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the US Justice Department is contemplating to make Apple help investigators extract data from iPhones in a dozen undisclosed cases around the country. The department may cite the San Bernardino order to hope for a similar order directed at Apple.
Meanwhile the New York Times reported that Apple has started working on an upgrade to its devices, which would make it impossible to break into an iPhone. As per the report, security experts said that if Apple is successful in developing this upgrade, it will be a major technical challenge for law enforcement agencies to get access to confidential data.
Federal wire-tapping laws require traditional phone carriers to make their data accessible to law enforcement agencies, but in this case, Apple Google and some other tech giants are not covered under the law. Earlier reports suggested that tech companies including Apple, Facebook and Google may be brought under a surveillance ambit if the US Congress gets involved and decides to move a bill strengthening the state's ability to do so.