President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that Apple should “help” the United States with unlocking encrypted iPhones, adding that the company has the “keys to so many criminals and criminal minds.”
The president made the remarks during an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Trump’s remarks come as the government has tried to pressure Apple to unlock the iPhones used by alleged Pensacola Naval Air Station shooter Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.
Apple has refused to comply with the request, adding in a statement to BuzzFeed News that it had turned over “many gigabytes of information” to authorities.
But Trump appears unsatisfied with that cooperation.
“We should start finding some of the bad people out there that we can do with Apple. I think it’s very important. Frankly, I’ve helped them a lot. I’ve given them waivers because it’s a great company, but it made a big difference. You know, they compete against Samsung, mostly Samsung I guess that would be their number one competitor,” the president told CNBC, adding: “I want them to help us a little bit. Apple has to help us, and I’m very strong on it. They have the keys to so many criminals and criminal minds. We can do things.”
When pressed about a backdoor into iPhones getting into the wrong hands, Trump said “I understand both sides of the argument,” but pressed forward.
“If you’re dealing with drug lords, if you’re dealing with terrorists, and if you’re dealing with murders, I don’t care. We have to find out what’s going on,” the president added.
President Trump says that Apple has “the keys to so many criminals and criminal minds.” Here’s why he’s calling on the tech giant to “help us” more in criminal cases. #Davos2020 https://t.co/0mYMkFrg85 pic.twitter.com/P7LUHhjO4o
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 22, 2020
The comments from Trump come a week after he criticized the company for not unlocking iPhones.
“We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” the president tweeted last week.
We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2020
You can read more about Trump’s interview with CNBC here.