Apple’s online services boss Eddy Cue warned that if the FBI were to get its way, Apple might be forced to use an iPhone’s camera or microphone to spy on people.
In a Spanish-language interview broadcast on Univision on Wednesday, Cue defended Apple’s refusal to cooperate with a court order asking it to help the FBI extract data from an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.
He argued that providing the FBI with the so-called “back door” to a user’s iPhone data would be a slippery slope that could create a dangerous precedent.
“When they can get us to create a new system to do new things, where will it stop?” Cue said.
“For example, one day [the FBI] may want us to open your phone’s camera, microphone. Those are things we can’t do now. But if they can force us to do that, I think that’s very bad,” Cue said, according to a translation provided by Apple.
In another answer, Cue provided one of the clearest metaphors for the issue that Apple has provided so far.
“What they want is to give them a key to the back door of your house and we don’t have the key. Since we don’t have the key, they want us to change the lock,” Cue said.
Cue confirmed that Apple would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court if it had to, and that it planned to continue to improve security on its devices, pointing to Apple Pay as an example of a recent product designed with security in mind.
“For example, when we made Apple Pay, we did not want to have the number of credit card, because if you keep it, and if someone steals it, they can use anywhere. When you use Apple Pay, instead of using that number, we use a new number every time you buy something,” Cue said.
Although Cue says he only speaks Spanish with his Cuban parents — and he made liberal use of English terminology — he was able to get through the entire interview in his second tongue. He said his parents immigrated to the United States for civil liberties and democracy, and alluded that those were the issues at stake in the San Bernardino case.