AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, made clear who he thinks should be leading the charge on encryption policy in the United States. And it’s not Apple and other tech companies.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Stephenson says Apple CEO Tim Cook and other technology leaders should leave the decision up to leaders in Washington, D.C.:
“I don’t think it is Silicon Valley’s decision to make about whether encryption is the right thing to do. I understand Tim Cook ’s decision, but I don’t think it’s his decision to make,” Mr. Stephenson said Wednesday in an interview here with The Wall Street Journal at the World Economic Forum….
“I personally think that this is an issue that should be decided by the American people and Congress, not by companies,” Mr. Stephenson said.
Fighting for customers
As you probably remember, Cook has been extremely vocal lately on the subject of encryption. He believes that the government should not have any “back door” access to iOS devices because it could possibly misused by other parties. Currently, because of encryption built into iOS devices, Apple itself can’t even access the contents of your iPhone or iPad.
The issue has been extremely contentious and was recently mentioned in both the Republican and Democratic presidential debates.
And instead of waiting for Congress to act, bills in California and New York are proposing to ban the sale of devices that can’t be accessed by the government.
While I understand Stephenson’s viewpoint, Cook is simply (and correctly) fighting for the privacy of Apple’s customers. No matter what your political affiliation, I think most Americans can agree that waiting on anything to get done in Washington, D.C. is a fool’s errand.
As the CEO of the world’s largest publicly traded company, Cook has the right to speak his mind. And I’m glad to see he’s doing just that.
For other news today, see: Apple to open first iOS App Development Center in Europe, New Night Shift mode in iOS 9.3 could have its own Control Center toggle, and Did we just get our eyes on the upcoming ‘iPhone 6c?’