Sen. Tom Cotton harshly criticized Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook’s promise to fight a government order that his company unlock a phone used by one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino mass shooting.
“Apple chose to protect a dead ISIS terrorist’s privacy over the security of the American people,” the Arkansas Republican said in an emailed statement. “The executive and legislative branches have been working with the private sector with the hope of resolving the ‘going dark’ problem. Regrettably, the position Tim Cook and Apple have taken shows that they are unwilling to compromise and that legislation is likely the only way to resolve this issue.”
Yesterday, Apple posted an open letter in which Tim Cook articulated the company’s logic for refusing the order, saying unlocking the encrypted phone would endanger other customers’ security and ultimately “undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
Cotton’s calls for a legislative solution come as several lawmakers are considering such measures.
Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have said they will introduce a bill to give the government access to encrypted communications.
House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said last month they would introduce a bill creating an expert commission to look into the problem and present a solution without creating a so-called “backdoor” into encrypted data.