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No backdoor US govt access to Apple servers: Cook

Apple CEO makes strongest statement yet on need for transparency after Prism fallout

Cook: The government doesn't have access to our servers.
Cook: The government doesn't have access to our servers.

Apple's chief executive told ABC News that the US government has no direct access to Apple servers, TechRadar reported.

In his most explicit statement regarding Project Prism yet, Tim Cook sought to clear up some of the rumours surrounding Apple's participation in Prism, a clandestine US National Security Agency (NSA) initiative in which tech companies such as Apple were forced to hand over personal user data under orders from a secret court.

Ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, in his disclosure of security documents to media outlets, alleged that Prism included companies such as Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc, Twitter, LinkedIn Corp, Yahoo Inc and AOL Inc.

"Much of what has been said isn't true," Cook told ABC. "There is no backdoor. The government doesn't have access to our servers."

He went on to say: "They would have to cart us out in a box for that. And that just will not happen. We feel that strongly about it."

In the past Apple reportedly managed to encrypt iMessages so heavily that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) complained that it could no longer effectively monitor the activities of drug dealers.

In the interview with ABC, Cook was evasive when asked about plans for the iPhone 6 and the rumoured iWatch, but was more vocal on the subject of the gag order placed on companies involved with Prism, which has made it difficult for them to reassure the public.

"We need to be significantly more transparent," Cook argued. "We need to say what data is being given, how many people it effects, how many accounts are affected. We need to be clear."