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.
But Attorney General Loretta Lynch responded to Cook by speaking of the “balance” necessary between privacy and national security — a balance that continues to be debated within the administration.
The exchange was described to The Intercept by two people who were briefed on the meeting, which the White House called to discuss a variety of counterterrorism issues with representatives from Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Cloudflare, Google, Drop Box, Microsoft, and LinkedIn.