In an interview with ABC News, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, said that the company never gave any backdoor access of Apple's servers to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
The NSA has been in the thick of controversies since June 2013 after Edward Snowden, a former agency contractor, leaked classified documents to the media, revealing the agency's secretive and mysterious surveillance operations.
In December 2013, Der Spiegel, a German publication, also claimed to have viewed the leaked NSA documents. The German publication reported that NSA's Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), a hacking unit based in San Antonio, Texas, targeted corporate networks around the world in the name of national security.
Der Spiegel also pointed that another NSA agency called ANT is said to have created backdoors in devices from Apple, Dell, Juniper, Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and more. The NSA is said to get nearly full access to smartphones, especially iPhones, with a program called "DROPOUT JEEP." The NSA leaked documents suggest that the agency had 100 percent success rate in installing the malware in the iPhones and were even developing a system to hack into iPhones easily.
However, in the interview with ABC, Tim Cook, who was asked, "What is your biggest concern - with the surveillance program here in this country?", said Apple never allowed any backdoor access to NSA and it never will as its customers' privacy remains top priority.
"I've been pushing very, very hard to open the books and be totally transparent. Much of what has been said isn't true; there is no back door. The government doesn't have access to our servers. They would have to cart us out in a box for that. And that just will not happen. We feel that - strongly about it. But I do want to be transparent, because I think transparency would help put everything in perspective," said Cook.
Cook may want Apple to be transparent. However, just like other companies, Apple is also tied by the PRISM surveillance program, which forces a company to stay silent by law.
In mid-December 2013, Cook along with top executives from other big tech companies met President Barack Obama. Cook said he pushed for more transparency at the meeting with the president.
"From my point of view, number one, we need to be significantly more transparent," said Cook. "We need to say what data is being given, how many people it affects, how many accounts are affected. We need to be clear and we have a gag order on us right now, and so, we can't say those things."