In mid-January we posted a report titled "Apple's CEO Rebukes Washington's need for 'Balance' between National Security and Consumer Privacy." While National Security officials had met with leading tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft, Apple's CEO lashed out at the high-level delegation of Obama administration officials about the lack of support for unbreakable encryption. Attorney General Loretta Lynch responded strongly to Cook by speaking of the necessary need for 'balance' between privacy and national security, that Cook had no interest in. Then earlier this month U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she was disappointed by a federal judge's ruling that the government can't compel Apple Inc. to help investigators extract data from a locked iPhone. In a Q&A session Lynch stated: "Do we let one company, no matter how great the company, no matter how beautiful their devices, decide this issue for all of us?" The tension between Apple and the Obama administration spilled over today when the President spoke about their new Cybersecurity Initiatives and purposely listed tech leaders they're working with and snubbed to mention Apple. No … that wasn't an oversight by the President.
Today President Obama noted that "more and more, keeping America safe is not just a matter of more tanks, more aircraft carriers; not just a matter of bolstering our security on the ground. It also requires us to bolster our security online. As we've seen in the past few years and just in the past few days, cyber threats pose a danger not only to our national security but also our financial security and the privacy of millions of Americans.
So I've joined with leaders from across my administration to, over the last several months, plan on how we are going to go after this in a more aggressive way. And today, we're rolling out a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan, or CNAP, to address short-term and long-term challenges when it comes to cybersecurity.
On the topic of cybersecurity specifically, Obama noted that "We're also going to reform the way the government manages and responds to cyber threats. We'll invest in cybersecurity education. We're going to build on the work that we've already done to recruit the best talent in America in IT and in cybersecurity. And we're also going to create the first-ever Federal Chief Information Security Officer who can oversee these activities across agencies and across the federal government, as well as make sure that the federal government is interacting more effectively with the private sector, which obviously contains a huge amount of vital and critical infrastructure, and has to be protected.
We're going to work throughout this process to make sure that security also means privacy. So with the help of companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Visa, we're going to empower Americans to be able to help themselves and make sure that they are safe online with an extra layer of security, like a fingerprint or a code sent to your cellphone.
And finally, I'm going to establish a new high-level commission on cybersecurity to help us gather the best ideas from outside of government to focus on long-term solutions. Some of these issues are ones that we can solve relatively quickly. But in area where technology is constantly evolving, we've got to make sure that we're setting up a long-term plan anticipating where IT is going and anticipating where the cybersecurity threats are going to be. So we're going to work with Congress to appoint a broad, bipartisan group of top business, strategic, and technical thinkers. And I look forward to receiving their report by the end of this year to help guide not just my administration, but future administrations in how to think about this problem.
Earlier this month the U.S. Defence appointed Google's Eric Schmidt Head of 'Defense Innovation Advisory Board.'
During Tim Cook's interview with ABC News in February, news anchor Muir asked Cook: "You have talked with the President before on these issues of privacy and security. Are you disappointed there wasn't more dialogue with the administration before this swift action from the Justice Department?
Cook swiftly answered, "Yes and I think there should have been. This filing … we found out about the filing from the press and I don't think that's the way the railway should be run. And I don't think that something so important to this country should be handled in this way."
Whether this rift between the U.S. Government and Apple will be temporary in nature is unknown at this time, but it definitely looks as though both sides are digging in for war.