Eddy Cue: If Apple creates iPhone backdoor, criminals and terrorists will get in

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Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, has defended the Cupertino company’s fight against the FBI in a new interview with Spanish-language news outlet Univision.

Cue insists that Apple isn’t “against the government,” but warns that creating a backdoor to iPhone and other iOS devices will allow criminals and terrorists to get into them.

“The Government wants more security than anyone,” Cue said during the interview, which was conducted in Spanish and translated by Apple shortly after, according to The Verge.

“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.”

But Apple says that the FBI wants both worlds — maintained encryption and the ability to hack into an iPhone when necessary — which it firmly believes does not exist. “You either have security of you don’t have security,” Cue added.

Cue doesn’t believe that the FBI is viewing an iPhone backdoor as a benefit to hackers, but he and Apple insist it will be. They also believe that this case will set a precedent that will lead to more unlocks later on — and not all will be for terrorism cases.

“These aren’t going to be terrorism cases, they are going to be all sorts of cases,” Cue said, referring to the more than 200 iPhones held in New York City that law enforcement agencies want access to.

“Where does this stop? In a divorce case? In an immigration case? In a tax case with the IRS?”

Cue believes that if access is granted to the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syad Farook — which has sparked this whole Apple vs. FBI battle — then judges will allow access in other cases, including immigration.

“My parents came to this country for the same things, to have civil liberties, democracy. [This] is a very, very big case, about what the government can do,” Cue said. “And to give such amounts of force to the government is not a good thing.”

Reiterating Apple’s mission to block bad actors, rather than the FBI, Cue said, “The best way to think about this is Apple engineers against terrorists, against criminals. We are not protecting against the government. We want to help.”

Apple has already stated that it will take this case to the Supreme Court if it’s necessary, but Cue believes it should be decided by Congress, and that all U.S. citizens — who will be affected by the decision in some way — “should be a part of what is done here.”

Cue also pointed out that the government has a tendency to leak sensitive data. “In recent years, the government has lost more than five million fingerprints from government employees,” he said.

“They have lost hundreds of millions of credit numbers from financial institutions. This problem is happening more and more and more. And the only way we can protect ourselves is to make phones more and more secure.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook and vice president of software Craig Federighi have already spoken out about Apple’s battle to protect iOS, and the privacy and security of its millions of users around the world. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has also backed the fight.

But this is a fight that will rage on for some time yet, and no one can really predict how it’s going to end.

[Univision via The Verge]