APPLE CHIEF EXECUTIVE Tim Cook has suggested that his company is "more secretive than the CIA".
Cook made the remark in an interview with US TV chat show host Charlie Rose on Sunday, after refusing to comment on rumours that the firm is developing a car.
"One of the great things about Apple is we probably have more secrecy here than the CIA," Cook said on the 60 Minutes programme.
He wouldn't confirm whether Apple is making a car, but said that Apple is always exploring ways to improve its products and looking ahead to what might come next.
"When we launch a product, we're already working on the next one. And possibly even the next. So, yes, we always see things we can do," he said.
Rumours spread earlier this year that Apple is revving the engine on an electric car business after The Wall Street Journal claimed to have found some people with access to the information and loose lips.
The sources said that the Apple car will be a thing by 2019, adding that the light recently turned green for the so-called Project Titan and that the firm is putting itself in the driving seat.
One subject Cook was not reluctant to talk about, however, was the threat that national security poses to personal privacy.
"I don't believe that the trade-off here is privacy versus national security," he said. "I think that's an overly simplistic view. We're America. We should have both."
This follows proposals by the US and UK governments that the intelligence services should have access to people's private communications, requiring the providers of these services to break encryption.
"Here's the situation. On your smartphone today there's likely to be health information, financial information. There are intimate conversations with your family or your co-workers. There's probably business secrets, and you should have the ability to protect it," said Cook.
"The only way we know how to do that is to encrypt it. Why is that? It's because if there's a way to get in, somebody will find the way in. There have been people who suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door's for everybody, for good guys and bad guys."
Cook added that encryption currently prevents Apple handing over information on specific individuals, because it doesn't have access to the information itself.
"If the government lays a proper warrant on us today we will give the specific information that is requested because we have to by law," he said. "In the case of encrypted communication, we don't have it to give. If your iMessages are encrypted, we don't have access to them." µ
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