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Cotton: Apple CEO 'omitted critical facts' in CBS report on data encryption

By Brandon Riddle

This article was published December 21, 2015 at 2:28 p.m.

us-sen-tom-cotton-r-ark-speaks-in-front-of-the-arkansas-state-capitol-in-little-rock-ark-tuesday-may-26-2015-ap-photodanny-johnston

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks in front of the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday, May 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said in a statement Monday that Apple CEO Tim Cook "omitted critical facts" in a 60 Minutes report on CBS that aired Sunday discussing the company's support for strict data encryption.

Cotton, critical of Apple's encryption technology, said: "As a society, we don't allow phone companies to design their systems to avoid lawful, court-ordered searches."

Sunday's 60 Minutes episode aired weeks after terrorists in Paris are said to have used encryption technology to shield themselves from having their plans monitored through surveillance, according to Washington Post reporting.

In the CBS News report, Cook spoke on Apple's policy to not share user data, which was in place before the Park attacks last month and remains in effect after the act of terrorism killed 130. He rejected the idea of a "back door" that would allow intelligence agencies to gather data.

"The reality is if you put a back door in, that back door is for everybody, for good guys and bad guys," Cook told 60 Minutes contributor Charlie Rose.

Cook said the idea that a choice must be made between privacy and security is "overly simplistic."

Cotton challenged the technology company's efforts to protect the privacy of those using Apple products, saying the encryption could result in unintended consequences such as protecting criminals.

"If we apply a different legal standard to companies like Apple, Google and Facebook, we can expect them to become the preferred messaging service of child pornographers, drug traffickers and terrorists alike — which neither these companies nor law enforcement want," Cotton said.

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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 total comments

Dero says... December 21, 2015 at 3:42 p.m.

Tom is right AND if Tim Cook is opposed to "sharing data" he SERIOUSLY needs to look into their consent statements that expressly state Apple will share data with others of their choosing.

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Jackabbott says... December 21, 2015 at 3:57 p.m.

Apple has no allegiance to the USA or any other government. They are out to make $$$$$$ period. They could not care less if people are killed or not as long as the $$$ come pouring into their coffers. They make their products in China or other 3rd world countries for cents on the dollar and turn around and sell them for big bucks here. That is precisely why they must be regulated and allow security surveillance. They are paying lobbyists a tremendous amounts of money to get their wary with security and immigration

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finzleft says... December 21, 2015 at 4:29 p.m.

Cotton is just out for the publicity. If Apple had offered to make the data accessible, Cotton would have yelled about privacy. If he had read the articles, he would have seen that the encryption used was with free apps like WhatsApp. That was one of the two apps used by the terrorists. Apple doesn't write those, they're by a third party vendor. They're used primarily by people who want to save money and not use the SMS messages that are provided natively on the phone. THOSE apps weren't used by the terrorist, because they're not secure, and people whine about privacy. In short, Apple app, NOT secure, complaints are about privacy. NON-Apple app, created by the free market, secure. If it weren't available, they'd be using some other method. And is Cotton going to complain to the Big Chief Tablet company because they don't imbed a method of monitoring their communications?

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Happy1234 says... December 21, 2015 at 5:42 p.m.

Tom just put all of us in the company of child pornographers, drug traffickers and terrorists.
Tom just go away sit in the corner and read the Constitution. Or maybe you have read it and are just to dumb to understand what it means. Or maybe you are just itching to be the Orwellian leader of the new order police state.

Tom you make me want to vomit.

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JakeTidmore says... December 21, 2015 at 5:46 p.m.

Maybe Cottonmouth forgot about how hackers got into the government's own data banks because of a back door. Maybe he forgot that in 1993 the United States government attempted to deploy an encryption system, the Clipper chip, with an explicit backdoor for law enforcement and national security access. The chip was unsuccessful internationally and in business. Maybe Cotton has forgotten that once a back door has been achieved into a data base, then the whole data base and system has to be basically scrapped and rebuilt from scratch. Maybe he has forgotten how many backdoor attacks have occurred recently with US data.
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Maybe he's just a hillbilly pipsqueak folks need to learn to ignore and vote out of office as soon as possible.
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As someone who was victimized by these hackers who milked US government computers for the data to millions of Americans, don't start with the BS about how this will help protect Americans.

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BEARTRAP919 says... December 21, 2015 at 7:59 p.m.

Tom to the Rescue, Tom is letting everyone know he is also a Computer GURU, He is not only The Worse Nightmare ISIS Ever had, He now knows how to Get their Messages. It is so Good that we have Cottonmouth Tom on our Side, Or Is he, Tommy if you will only Keep your Trap Shut People will not keep finding out how Ignorant you really are, and in a Senators Seat no less.

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TheBatt says... December 21, 2015 at 11:11 p.m.

I typically agree with Cotton, but not in this case. The Patis terrorist attacks had nothing to do with Apple, nor is there any indication Apple devices were used n any capacity. Not have Apple devices been implicated in any other cases of terrorism.

Kudos to Apple for holding the line on users and their privacy.

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hurricane46 says... December 22, 2015 at 11:31 a.m.

Tommy needs to keep his mouth shut about something he knows nothing about, but hey, that hasn't stopped him so far in his "career".

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