By John Gruber
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Jenna McLaughlin, reporting for The Intercept:
Apple CEO Tim Cook lashed out at the high-level delegation of Obama administration officials who came calling on tech leaders in San Jose last week, criticizing the White House for a lack of leadership and asking the administration to issue a strong public statement defending the use of unbreakable encryption.
The White House should come out and say “no backdoors,” Cook said. That would mean overruling repeated requests from FBI Director James Comey and other administration officials that tech companies build some sort of special access for law enforcement into otherwise unbreakable encryption. Technologists agree that any such measure could be exploited by others.
Apple — and Tim Cook, specifically — is the only major tech company currently defending encryption against intrusive surveillance to this degree. Every other company is either open to compromise publicly, has privately compromised, or has failed to take a firm stand.
This came up during last night’s Republican primary debate — not about tech companies refusing to allow backdoors in encryption systems, but about Apple specifically. Tim Cook is right, and encryption and privacy experts are all on his side, but where are the other leaders of major U.S. companies? Where is Larry Page? Satya Nadella? Mark Zuckerberg? Jack Dorsey? I hear crickets chirping.
Real leaders have courage, and on this very essential issue — in the face of fierce political pushback from law enforcement officials — only Tim Cook is showing any.
★ Friday, 15 January 2016