eddy_cue_headshotApple VP Eddy Cue says the U.S. government could force Apple to secretly implement surveillance technology in its devices if the FBI's current demands in the ongoing iPhone encryption dispute are met.

The company's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services made the ominous prediction during an interview yesterday with U.S.-based Spanish-language TV network Univision, a transcript of which was provided by Apple to Business Insider.

In the extensive interview, the Apple executive reiterated a number of arguments offered by the company over the last weeks, but Cue put special emphasis on the risk of facing a slippery slope that could invite more insidious demands should the FBI get its way and be provided a backdoor to iPhone users' data.

"When they can get us to create a new system to do new things, where will it stop?" Cue asked. "For example, one day the FBI may want us to open your phone's camera, microphone. Those are things we can't do now. But if they can force us to do that, I think that's very bad. That should not happen in this country."

The Apple VP offered a fresh analogy to explain the company's issue with the FBI's demand, likening it to giving someone a key to the back door of your home.

What they want is to give them a key to the back door of your house, and we don't have the key. Since we don't have the key, they want us to change the lock. When we change the latchkey, it changes for everyone. And we have a key that opens all phones. And that key, once it exists, exists not only for us. Terrorists, criminals, pirates, all too will find that key to open all phones.

Cue also accused the FBI of being out of step with other government agencies, stating that the Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who is responsible for the NSA, "wants encryption to continue getting more and more secure, because he knows that if we create some way to get in, criminals and terrorists will get in. They don't want that."

Cue explained that Apple engineers are continually working to make its devices more secure, and that people should not view the current case as Apple versus the government, but rather an example of Apple's attempts to keep the public safe from criminals and other dangerous actors.

It's Apple engineers against terrorists, against criminals. They are the people we are trying to protect people from. We are not protecting the government. We want to help. They have a very difficult job, they are there to protect us. So we want to help as much as possible, but we can not help them in a way that will help more criminals, terrorists, pirates.

He also underlined the U.S. government's recent poor record of keeping the public's information – and even that of its own employees – secure, arguing that "the only way we can protect ourselves is to make the phone more safe."

Cue is the second Apple executive this week to publicly comment on the case, following Craig Federighi's Monday op-ed in The Washington Post in which he criticized the FBI for wanting to turn back the clock to a less-secure time.

Apple has officially opposed an order that would require it to help the FBI break into the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook and will now face off against the government in court on March 22.

Eddy Cue's full interview can be read on the Univision website.

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

decafjava Avatar
65 months ago
Does anyone have any spare facepalms?
I only have a million handy & it seems like underkill for this comment...

*one million facepalms*


There you are, just let it run for a enough time.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JM Avatar
65 months ago
You seem to be implying that this system with weakened security would be installed on every iPhone (or hard drive or file system) on the planet. That is NOT the case, but if it was I would agree with you wholeheartedly.

You may understand the tech, but you do not understand the law. The government is asking for a special OS to be developed and installed on specific phones, each of which have gone through the regular 4th amendment legal hurdles and protections of obtaining a warrant for inspection by a neutral judge. And that special OS would be maintained as proprietary by Apple, not the government. Nobody is asking Apple to weaken security on ALL iPhones. Apple can and should continue to develop strengthened encryption algorithms and protocols, but they also have to be able to comply with legal search warrants in order to assist the government in solving crimes. Developing a specialized OS that Apple maintains under their control and use only when the government has obtained a legal search warrant signed by a judge seems like a reasonable compromise.
No. You're forgetting the human element in this.

If a specialized iOS is made, even for one device, it has the chance of being stolen, sold by employee, whatever, from Apple.

Just because Apple has control of this "special" iOS, doesn't mean it won't ever leak through theft of disgruntled employee sale. it now exists and it has a chance of going into the wild, and that is what Apple and many tech companies want to avoid.

If I may: Nobel regrets inventing dynamite. But once it got out, it killed many. Point: once something bad is made, there's no going back.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tycho24 Avatar
65 months ago
We have to have the best of both worlds. We have to have the FBI getting their access for protection purposes, but also a way that keeps the devices secure for everybody.
Look... I get that if you don't come from a tech background that may sound sensical. However, I assure you- it is not. The way encryption works is that it can't be decrypted if you're not the owner. That's what makes it secure. What you (and the FBI) are suggesting is to weaken encryption by purposefully entering a flaw into the system. That is not "meeting in the middle". It's destroying a method of securing data through a purposeful vulnerability.... and a slippery slope. Would Seagate be told next that they can't build hard drives with built in encryption features? Would Microsoft be told that they can't have software options to encrypt drives or protected OS files??
It simply put, is NOT as simple as we all wish it were.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pakaku Avatar
65 months ago
I mean, I was pretty sure the US has been a surveillance state for a loooong time.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cdmoore74 Avatar
65 months ago
I thought we already live in a surveillance state. Cameras are almost everywhere bringing fresh material to liveleaks on a daily basis. If you go shopping at the grocery store you're on tape doing something. I'm so paranoid I don't even use Facebook or any other social app because I know people are watching. We can all try to hide our identity online but leave the house you have no choice but to be under surveillance.
You can lock down the phones all day long but if you're not a terrorist secretly covering your tracks your privacy has been gone a long time ago.
It's funny, we let people know what we're doing on Facebook yet we want our phones to be hack proof. I had one relative telling people on Facebook that she was on vacation. Next thing you know she had gotten her house broken into.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gudi Avatar
65 months ago

Eddy Cue Fears Surveillance State [S]if FBI Wins iPhone Unlock Case[/S]
Fixed that for you.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
Top Stories 47 Feature copy

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, and AirPods Rumors, macOS 11.2.2, MagSafe Wallet Revisited

Saturday February 27, 2021 6:00 am PST by
March is right around the corner, and that means our first good opportunity for Apple product launches in 2021 as the company frequently has significant launches in March or April each year. We're hearing rumors about MacBook Pro, iMac, AirPods, and more, although many of these will be coming out at different times over the course of the year. This week also saw a macOS update to address a ...
maxresdefault

HomeKit Essentials Worth Checking Out

Saturday February 27, 2021 7:05 am PST by
HomeKit was slow to take off after its 2014 launch, but now that it's been around for seven years, there are hundreds of HomeKit products available, ranging from doorbells and speakers to TVs, lights, and cameras. In our latest YouTube video, we rounded up some of our favorite HomeKit products that we find most useful. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. HomePod...
apple store macarthur center

Apple Store at MacArthur Center in Virginia Permanently Closing Following Years of Safety Issues at Shopping Mall

Thursday February 25, 2021 4:45 pm PST by
Apple today indicated that its retail store at the MacArthur Center shopping mall in Norfolk, Virginia will be permanently closing after over 14 years of business, although an exact closure date has yet to be announced by the company. Apple has assured that it will be offering all employees at the store other positions within Apple, and said that it looks forward to continuing to serve...
jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
apple refurbished m1 mac mini

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished M1 Mac Mini

Thursday February 25, 2021 6:42 pm PST by
Apple today began selling certified refurbished Mac mini models with the M1 chip for the first time in the United States and Canada, with prices discounted by approximately 15 percent compared to brand new models as usual. For example, a refurbished Mac mini with the M1 chip, 256GB of SSD storage, and 16GB of unified memory is available for $759, compared to $899 brand new. Other custom...
mac mini developer transition kit photo feature

Apple Requiring Developers to Return DTK Mac Minis by March 31

Friday February 26, 2021 3:57 pm PST by
Apple today sent out emails to developers who are in possession of a Developer Transition Kit, asking them to return the machines by March 31. The Developer Transition Kits are Mac minis with A12Z chips that Apple provided for development purposes ahead of the release of the M1 Macs. Apple in the emails provided developers with shipping instructions, and plans to begin collecting the DTKs...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...