updated 04:06 pm EST, Fri January 24, 2014
Truth of statement difficult to verify
ABC has released another clip from its interview with Tim Cook and other Apple executives. In the new piece, Cook discuses the National Security Agency's domestic spying operations, and whether or not the agency has direct access to Apple servers, as it does at some other corporations like AT&T. "I've been pushing very, very hard to open the books and be totally transparent," he says. "Much of what has been said isn't true; there is no back door. The government doesn't have access to our servers. They would have to cart us out in a box for that. And that just will not happen. We feel that - strongly about it. But I do want to be transparent, because I think transparency would help put everything in perspective."
Thanks to leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the public has learned that the NSA is collecting metadata and/or content from a number of American corporations, such as AT&T, Verizon, Microsoft, and Google. Some companies have denied consenting, but others haven't; Apple has acknowledged sometimes having to turn data over to government agencies, but only on request.
The full interview is scheduled to air tonight on ABC News. The truth of Cook's statement is difficult to ascertain; even if the NSA did have backdoor access, Apple would be required to deny it. At the same time, leaked documents have previously suggested that the government has a difficult time intercepting iMessage traffic due to the way Apple handles encryption.