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Friday, January 24, 2014, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

Tim Cook will 'absolutely' press Congress for more transparency over surveillance

In a one-on-one interview with ABC News' David Muir, Apple CEO Tim Cook called for the U.S. government to be more open about its surveillance efforts after revealing his company is under a gag order regarding such matters.

Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking to ABC on government surveillance. | Source: ABC News


While Cook and Muir joked about Apple's legendary secrecy and possible plans for sapphire glass, the executive was deadly serious about the U.S. government's surveillance policies.

"From my point of view — number one — we need to be significantly more transparent," Cook said. "We need to say what data is being given, how many people it affects, how many people are affected. We need to be clear."

Cook noted that Apple is currently under a gag order and was not able say more on the subject. What the executive could say, however, is that there is no back door to Apple's servers or customer database.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggested Apple was complicit in the agency's PRISM data mining program, while other revelations pointed to secret system exploits aimed at the iPhone. Apple vehemently denied any involvement in the initiative.

"They would have to cart us out in a box for that," Cook said, referring to future government efforts to tap into Apple's backend. "This would not happen, we feel that strongly about it."

When asked whether he would press Congress for more transparency, Cook said, "Yes, absolutely...absolutely."

In December, Cook, alongside other tech moguls, met with President Barack Obama to discuss the NSA's surveillance efforts. The meeting was also supposed to serve as a roundtable on how to fix the HealthCare.gov system, but most of the time was reportedly spent on snooping.

Aside from the teaser excerpts aired earlier today, which covered topics from the made-in-America Mac Pro to sapphire glass, not much else was revealed during the brief two-minute segment.