Apple online services vice president Eddy Cue sat down with Spanish-language TV network Univision and discussed the demands the FBI is making in the ongoing iPhone encryption dispute. Cue says if the FBI’s current demands are met, it could lead to a time when the government could force Apple to secretly open a device’s microphone or camera.
He argued that providing the FBI with the so-called back door to a user’s iPhone data would be a slippery slope that could create a dangerous precedent.
“When they can get us to create a new system to do new things, where will it stop?” Cue asked. “For example, one day the FBI may want us to open your phone’s camera, microphone. Those are things we can’t do now. But if they can force us to do that, I think that’s very bad. That should not happen in this country.”
Cue likened it to giving someone a spare key to your home’s back door.
“What they want is to give them a key to the back door of your house, and we don’t have the key. Since we don’t have the key, they want us to change the lock. When we change the latchkey, it changes for everyone. And we have a key that opens all phones. And that key, once it exists, exists not only for us. Terrorists, criminals, pirates, all too will find that key to open all phones.”
The Apple VP also accused the FBI as being out of step with other government agencies, such as the NSA. Cue said NSA head Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter “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.”
Cue also highlighted the U.S. government’s own poor record of keeping information public secure. saying, “the only way we can protect ourselves is to make the phone more safe.”
Apple is opposing an order that would compel it to help the FBI crack an iPhone 5c that was used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. The two sides will meet in court on March 22.