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Tim Cook: NSA 'Would Have to Cart Us Out in a Box' for Access to Servers

NewImageAs part of its publicity push ahead of its interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook tonight, ABC News has posted an excerpt of Cook's discussion with ABC News reporter David Muir.

In the clip, Cook discusses the NSA's surveillance operations and says that the Government does not have any direct access to Apple's servers and that "they would have to cart us out in a box" for that to happen.
DAVID MUIR: "What is your biggest concern — with the surveillance program here in this country?"

TIM COOK: "I've been pushing very, very hard to open the books and be totally transparent. Much of what has been said isn't true; there is no back door. The government doesn't have access to our servers. They would have to cart us out in a box for that. And that just will not happen. We feel that — strongly about it. But I do want to be transparent, because I think transparency would help put everything in perspective."

DAVID MUIR: "Do you think Americans, Tim, would be more at ease if you could tell them more?"

TIM COOK: "I do."

This morning, ABC ran a longer preview of the interview during Good Morning America and the full piece will air tonight at 6:30 PM Eastern on World News with Diane Sawyer.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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13 weeks ago
The problem is, you only get one shot at trust. If you violate it, it's gone.

Even if the NSA / the government promised they'd stop indiscriminate spying/eavesdropping, would anyone believe them now?
Rating: 13 Positives
13 weeks ago
Why is this shuffled off to "politics"? Presidents and congresspeople of both parties (including independents) have supported and enabled these programs.

Anyway, how does Tim Cook know there is no "back door"? We've already seen how the NSA and other similar agencies can gain access to data without being detected. And as noted in a comment above, now they are intercepting iPhones before they even get to customers, that's about as big of a door as you could imagine. Also, most major companies, and this probably includes Apple, do not encrypt their data when they send it between their own servers (which they do all the time). The NSA has been tapping these intracorporate lines as well, probably without the knowledge of those companies at all.

When they get their claws into major providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, etc., they basically have access to everything traveling over the internet in the U.S. And we now know that the NSA paid off the people who made RSA encryption (http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/20/5231006/nsa-paid-10-million-for-a-back-door-into-rsa-encryption-according-to) to insert a back door so they can break that encryption at will. And if you think that's the only thing of that type they have going, you are very naive.
Rating: 10 Positives
13 weeks ago
DAVID MUIR: "Do you think Americans, Tim, would be more at ease if you could tell them more?"

TIM COOK: "I do."


That says it all.
Rating: 7 Positives
13 weeks ago

Why is this shuffled off to "politics"? Presidents and congresspeople of both parties (including independents) have supported and enabled these programs.

Anyway, how does Tim Cook know there is no "back door"? We've already seen how the NSA and other similar agencies can gain access to data without being detected. And as noted in a comment above, now they are intercepting iPhones before they even get to customers, that's about as big of a door as you could imagine. Also, most major companies, and this probably includes Apple, do not encrypt their data when they send it between their own servers (which they do all the time). The NSA has been tapping these intracorporate lines as well, probably without the knowledge of those companies at all.

When they get their claws into major providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, etc., they basically have access to everything traveling over the internet in the U.S. And we now know that the NSA paid off the people who made RSA encryption (http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/20/5231006/nsa-paid-10-million-for-a-back-door-into-rsa-encryption-according-to) to insert a back door so they can break that encryption at will. And if you think that's the only thing of that type they have going, you are very naive.


They've done it before: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A . And I'm willing to bet they're still doing it.
Rating: 6 Positives
13 weeks ago
You don't need to fish from the private lake when the public rivers flow both in and out of it.
Rating: 5 Positives
13 weeks ago

There is no back door.

There is only a front door, that the NSA can access once they have physical access to an iPhone.


I would guess the NSA approach is more "drive by" than asking permission. iOS isn't that hard to hack if encryption is turned on. I'd grease that if an Apple Beta suddenly plugged a hole the NSA was using Tim (or Legal) might get an National Security Letter to quash the patch. But stuff like that is going to go thru legal directly and those come with a gag order.. So Legal cannot even tell the CEO they recieved such a letter.. The manager just pulls the patch as ordered and nobody knows.

Much of the NSA's efforts are at the Telcos because that's only 4-10 CEOs they have to bring in. Tim might get passing updates that the NSA has hooks on his bandwidth... And the NSA sends a NSL to tell Apple "they didn't see anything".

Personal opinion is that the NSA keeps CEOs like Tim in the dark, or gagged with NSL for small things. The NSA then drops the "info bomb" of way too much knowledge on a handful of other workers/CEOs they can bully, badger, bribe and bring in so deep they'll get criminal charges... Like the Quest CEO A few years back made their point with "insider trading" prosecution.
Rating: 3 Positives
13 weeks ago
Why would they need an exploit the actual product, or even OS when they already have direct access to the internet traffic from ISPs?

Theres no reason to have a backdoor.
Rating: 3 Positives
13 weeks ago

Why would they need an exploit the actual product, or even OS when they already have direct access to the internet traffic from ISPs?

Theres no reason to have a backdoor.


Yep. It's really that simple.

The communication pipeline will always be a weak spot in any plots and organizations.

With the ISP's and Telco's in their back pocket, the NSA already has the biggest and baddest collection source in their back pocket.
Rating: 3 Positives
13 weeks ago

Am I not important enough to keep my personal data private because I want it to stay that way?


The government, banks, retailers, airlines, telecommunication companies, ISP's, etc. all collect your personal data. The fear that the "government" is using it for some malicious intent is where people are thinking they're more important than they are.

If the government was really all powerful and all knowing, sucking our data and using it for some purposes we don't realize, then why are there any criminals or dead-beat dads that seem to escape prosecution for years or forever?

To have a society function, people have to participate, including at times giving up some of their individual rights for the betterment of the society as a whole. I agree that the government, which has grown far bigger than it should or needs to be, has more power than it should or needs to have, but worrying that your phone calls and emails are being read by some government hack, so that they can then come get you for being a miscreant since you said or wrote something bad, is just paranoia driven by hollywood portrayal of how the government is controlling us.
Rating: 3 Positives
13 weeks ago

The government, banks, retailers, airlines, telecommunication companies, ISP's, etc. all collect your personal data. The fear that the "government" is using it for some malicious intent is where people are thinking they're more important than they are.

If the government was really all powerful and all knowing, sucking our data and using it for some purposes we don't realize, then why are there any criminals or dead-beat dads that seem to escape prosecution for years or forever?

To have a society function, people have to participate, including at times giving up some of their individual rights for the betterment of the society as a whole. I agree that the government, which has grown far bigger than it should or needs to be, has more power than it should or needs to have, but worrying that your phone calls and emails are being read by some government hack, so that they can then come get you for being a miscreant since you said or wrote something bad, is just paranoia driven by hollywood portrayal of how the government is controlling us.


Why worry about restricting government at all, let's all just sit up webcams in every room with full government control, we don't have anything to hide.
Rating: 3 Positives

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