Deputy Attorney General suggests Apple’s strong privacy position defeats ‘legitimate law enforcement’

At a Georgetown Law and Department of Justice cybercrime conference today, Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, made a strong statement that suggests Apple has a mission to “defeat legitimate law enforcement” efforts.

The statement came as Rosenstein was discussing the risks of new technology via Politico’s Eric Gellar.

Rosenstein: “We cannot accept a culture in which technology companies considers it part of their responsibility to defeat legitimate law enforcement” activities.

While the Deputy Attorney General didn’t name Apple specifically, it’s quite clear that’s the company he is referring to. Apple refused to build a backdoor into its software with the San Bernardino case, and CEO Tim Cook and the company hasn’t changed their stance on privacy and encryption since then.

Cook most recently spoke on privacy in an interview with Axios On HBO.

“Your device has incredible intelligence about you, but as a company I don’t have to have that.”

The comment was in response to a privacy question about the regulation of tech companies when it comes to how they handle consumer data. Even though it wasn’t directly about device encryption and law enforcement, Cook’s statement speaks to how much Apple values privacy and that it looks to hold the minimum personal data needed.

The company also gave a statement sharing concerns about device encryption policy being discussed in Australia last month.

Apple says that it appreciates the government reaching out to it and other companies, however, “the unfortunate fact is that the draft legislation remains dangerously ambiguous with respect to encryption and security.”

It also said “this is no time to weaken encryption” and that reducing security and privacy would make criminals even harder to catch.

While Rosenstein may see Apple’s culture and privacy stance as contentious, Apple views it as helping law enforcement the best it can without compromising on its privacy standards for users.

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