ABC News is planning to air an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook this evening, but a few bits and pieces have already started trickling out. In the first big excerpt to be released, Cook touches on his concerns regarding the NSA and their deeply controversial PRISM surveillance program.
“The government doesn’t have access to our servers,” Cook says. “They would have to cart us out in a box for that.”
Here’s the transcript of the released excerpt:
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.”
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Of course, as many have pointed out since companies first started making these sorts of official statements, there are many a concern that even “The government doesn’t have access to our servers” can’t sate. Talk of theoretical gag orders aside, one of the most disconcerting tenets of the PRISM program is the idea that the NSA doesn’t need a company’s approval (or even for the company to know) for them to start gathering data; they purportedly just snatch what they can as the data passes through the Internet’s central hubs.
In that case, all Apple can really do — besides fighting hard for transparency — is encrypt the hell out of things (like they do with iMessage) and hope their encryption is up to snuff.