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Apple's Tim Cook Calls FBI's 'Going Dark' Claims 'a Crock'

Cook says banning encryption in the U.S. wouldn't stop criminals from using the technology.

Chip Somodevilla, Gabriella Demczuk / Getty

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook took direct aim at the FBI’s claim that increasingly sophisticated encryption technology is hiding evidence of serious crimes from law enforcement in a phenomenon described as “going dark.”

Cook said we live in a “golden age of surveillance,” where more information is available about the average person than ever before — from the people you call and text, to your location, to your movements on the street captured by security cameras. The digital footprints are everywhere, he said.


“My only point is, going dark is not — this is a crock,” said Cook in an extensive interview with Time magazine. “No one’s going dark.”

Cook granted a wide-ranging interview, in which he discussed the coming court battle with the government over its request that Apple help investigators crack open an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino assailants. He talked about learning of the government suit from press reports and the “simplistic” view that the debate over encryption is a choice between privacy and security.

The Apple executive said a Congressional decision to ban encryption would do little to stop criminals from using the technology.

“The bad guys will use encryption from non-American companies, because they’re pretty smart and encryption isn’t — I don’t own encryption, Apple doesn’t own encryption. Encryption, as you know, is everywhere,” Cook said. “In fact, some of encryption is funded by our government. Some of the best encryption is funded by the government. But you’ll see encryption coming out of most countries in the world.”

The full transcript of the interview is here.

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