Apple CEO Tim Cook will push for strong encryption at the White House

Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to push for strong encryption when he attends a meeting at the White House on Monday, Axios reports.

Cook will join several other heavy hitters in the tech industry, including Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, at what the White House is calling an “American Technology Council roundtable.”

Apple is closely associated with the debate over strong encryption, after it refused to cooperate with the FBI a year ago when the FBI asked Apple to help it access data on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“Strong encryption” is the phrase that supporters use to suggest that tech companies should not be technically capable of reading the content of private messages or accessing a password-protected device.

The FBI, including former FBI director James Comey, wanted Apple to write software that would help it access a locked and encrypted iPhone. Apple thought the FBI’s request was essentially asking them to make a “backdoor” and set a bad precedent that compromised Apple user security. Cook even went as far as calling it the “software equivalent of cancer.”

According to Axios, the Trump administration is divided on whether tech companies should build software that allows law enforcement to be able to read private messages.

Apple is also expected to argue that immigration is important to the American economy, as well as weighing in on how to better support military veterans, and express a pro-human rights view, Axios reports.

Trump is expected to stop by the meeting, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET. Cook has an open dialogue with Trump — he even called him to discourage him from withdrawing from the Paris climate accords. (Trump withdrew anyway.)

According to Axios and a recent Cook interview, he is not a member of the council whose meeting he is attending today.

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