Apple CEO Tim Cook says governments should not force tech companies to weaken encryption


Tim Cook

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Apple CEO Tim Cook waits to enter during George Washington University's commencement exercises on the National Mall, Sunday, May 17, 2015 in Washington. Cook later gave the commencement address and was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service.

Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a warning in The Telegraph today about what happens when governments force technology companies to weaken encryption across their products and platforms.


Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that technology companies should hand over customer communications in certain situations to assist UK intelligence agencies with criminal matters but Cook claims this would reduce security and expose people to cyber attacks.

In an interview with The Telegraph's Allister Heath, Cook said he was "optimistic" that Home Secretary Theresa May will make the right decision on encryption.

"When the public gets engaged, the press gets engaged deeply, it will become clear to people what needs to occur," Cook said. "You can't weaken cryptography. You need to strengthen it. You need to stay ahead of the folks that want to break it."

He added: "To protect people who use any products, you have to encrypt. You can just look around and see all the data breaches that are going on. These things are becoming more frequent. They can not only result in privacy breaches but also security issues. We believe very strongly in end-to-end encryption and no back doors.


"We don't think people want us to read their messages. We don't feel we have the right to read their emails."

End-to-end encryption is technically already illegal in the UK under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) but the law is not enforced. Last week May said there was going to be no change to UK encryption laws.