Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world

“Stronger encryption in Apple’s iPhones and on websites like Facebook has ‘petrified’ the U.S. government because it has made it harder to spy on communications, Glenn Greenwald, the writer who first reported on Edward Snowden’s stolen files, told CNBC,” Arjun Kharpal reports.

“Greenwald, the man who helped Snowden publish the documents, said that Silicon Valley companies have bolstered the encryption on their products, thereby making it harder for governments to eavesdrop,” Kharpal reports. “‘They (Apple) are now starting to put serious encryption technologies in their new iPhones in their new releases and this has really petrified governments around the world,’ Greenwald told CNBC in an interview at tech fair CeBIT in Germany.”

“‘I don’t…(think) they suddenly care about privacy,’ Greenwald said,” Kharpal reports. “‘If…you’re a Facebook executive or an Apple executive, you’re extremely worried that the next generation of users…are going to be vulnerable to the pitch from Brazilian, and Korean and German social media companies where they advertise and say don’t use Facebook and Google because they’ll give your data to the NSA.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless of the motivation(s), what’s left of the Fourth Amendment thanks you, Apple!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
Apple’s Tim Cook warns of ‘dire consequences’ of sacrificing privacy for security – February 13, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014

35 Comments

    1. To call the U.S. the largest terrorist organization in the world is just foolish. But, I do believe that the policies and actions of this government have been one of the biggest reasons for the rise of terrorism around the world. We need to quit trying to mold the world in our own image and mind our own damn business.

        1. The amount of funding has nothing to do with it. The word “terrorism” has a specific meaning.

          The US government makes its own kinds of mistakes, but it does not proudly claim responsibility for killing civilians, or threaten to kill civilians to get its way.

          Its equally misleading to relabel drug dealers and violent criminals as “terrorists” as politicians love to do around election and budget time.

          1. Thanks for picking up the idea and sharing your thoughts.
            I think that the amount of funding does have something to do with it when it comes to being the “largest”. Certainly the size of the group, the amount of money they have, the facilities and the number of people they have certainly helps.

            Terrorism indeed does have a specific meaning: “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.” and that definition to me is spot on for this case.

            There certainly has been a very proud proclamation from an ex-government representative who demonstrates pride for torturing civilians. A specific example:

            When asked about those tortured: “What about the fact that “25 percent of the detainees” turned out to be innocent?” Dick Cheney replied: “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective”

            That sounds like someone who is pretty proud/smug/satisfied of what he and that government did to me and the article I am quoting from describes a meeting where “former Vice President Dick Cheney basically taunted ambitious lawyers at the Hague to come after him.” I think others in the administration at the time are the same. The current administration has admitted to “we tortured some folks” and yet has done nothing to bring those responsible to justice, washing their hands with a “we must look forward not backward” reasoning that is as feeble as a house of cards.

            Not to mention the whole Iraq invasion (the second sequel) being in my opinion a crime against humanity. I might be wrong on that but I’d sure like a trial at the Hague to determine that. It won’t happen of course, it would mean taking responsibility for those violent actions in front of the world, on a level playing field and that’s not the way that country operates.

            I appreciate your comments, but to me killing civilians, torture including threatening to kill civilians and their families to get its way is exactly what the US has done.

            Oh and continues to do, the Guatanamo Bay resort and others are still open and operational.

            It’s absolutely disgusting to this citizen of the civilized and free world.

        2. China? Russia? Iran? North Korea? And certainly a number commit far worse atrocities (ISIS; al Qaeda; Boko Haram). That’s not to defend what the US Gov’t has done for decades, of course. “Not Really” is quite right – we’ve tried to force our values on, and influence, far too many other countries (“they will welcome us with flowers”). But by and large the actions of the US Gov’t these days is to to protect this country, not to terrorize other countries or force a particular religion on people. That’s one of the practical problems of dealing with terrorism – they don’t know who the terrorist is so they have to spy on everybody.

          1. Hey Lemons, thanks for your input.

            From your list I think you might be right that China and possibly Russia could be larger than the US. Certainly the others might be more active in what they do, but still I think that “yourmother” still hit the nail on the head.

            It’s a tough call on what is a worse atrocity, keeping a person a few days then beheading them, or keeping them for over a decade and torturing them all the way but one way or another they are both atrocities from groups that deserve to be brought to justice and certainly they do not deserve to be part of the free and civilized world.

            From Snowden’s revelations, the open status of Guatanamo Bay and other torture resorts, the Iraq to Syria Sequel (part III if I am following it correctly) I cannot agree with you there. The infiltration and influence on other countries by the US by other means (cyber espionage and sabotage) is alive and well.

            I do like your principle though, not to terrorize others (and that includes no illegal invasions, instead a respect for the borders of a sovereign nation).

            The statement you make about know knowing who the terrorist is justifying the invasion of everybody is equivalent as the end justifying the means. The thing is that those types of means tends to turn one into what one is trying to destroy. Beheading is as much of a terrorist activity as torture is and all who engage in those activities should be brought to justice. Thing is, some just don’t know any better, they never had the ethics or the morality to know better. What is really painful is when those who do know better, toss morality out the window and sacrifice global security for national security. That’s extra sad.

            Anyway I did enjoy your input and I appreciate your sentiments.

            1. You raise some interesting points, RW. But whether it’s a worse atrocity to keep someone a few days and then cut their head off vs. keeping them locked up for a decade with constant torture isn’t really the standard I was using though. ISIS and al Qaeda and, to a lesser extent, Boko Haram not only kill and maim, they advertise that they do it and how they do it. ISIS in particular glorifies it. Have you seen any of their super slick videos of killing people? Smooth transitions, Hollywood style music and build up, close ups of the agony on the victims’ faces. The US Gov’t does not do that. It tortures to try to get information about planned attacks against US interests. I’m not defending that practice. But there is a difference.
              Nor was I justifying or defending the “end justifies the means” approach of surveilling everybody because the Gov’t can’t tell who the bad guys are. I was just noting that’s the approach being used. And it is a hard problem to solve. I remember reading a futuristic novel decades ago, before the fall of the USSR, that assigned an arbitrary date for when the USSR “won” the war against the USA, based on the fact that the USA had started to oppress its people “in order to keep them safe from the communists” to such a degree that the two regimes became indistinguishable from each other. I agree that we’re in danger of that happening – just with a different enemy.
              Last – how do you find the invisible enemy within? The freedoms we cherish so much make us easy targets for the terrorists who want to hurt us. Too many people (on this and other boards) champion the “keep all the muslims out” approach. To me, that stinks of the novel I read all those years ago. If it was an easy problem to solve someone would have done it a long time ago.

            2. Hey Lemons, thanks for your clarification.

              I don’t watch television and I don’t go looking for that sort of material on the net but I am aware of the beheading videos and I have seen photos. I’ll let you in on a personal experience, one that had a dramatic effect on my stance. It was entering a store and seeing a color photo covering the front page of a newspaper. The newspaper was placed at the eye level of a child, so that it would be immediately visible to any young child walking into the store. That photo was of Lyndie England doing the torture thing at Abu Ghraib. It made me nauseous, especially the thought of how it was displayed. I later coined the terms “photo terrorism” and journal terrorism” directly from that experience. There was a lot of talk at the time about the ethical and morality of releasing such photos to the public. These were military personnel working for the US government and the photos were released to the world by US media outlets. Prior to that I recall a photo of a naked young girl from the Vietnam conflict being one of the most disturbing photos I had ever seen. Her name is Kim Phuc. The US doesn’t show what happens at Guatanamo Bay but I would not be surprise that you saw those videos you talk about from local (US) media outlets. I’ll even add that is Snowden for example had footage of water boarding torture at Guatanamo Bay that this footage would have been released. Of course I could be wrong. Still your point is well taken, the US does not release footage of the torture it engages in. If it did, people would have a clearer picture of just how depraved that country has become.

              It not being able to tell who the bad guys are, the government has become what they are looking for. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize those who torture a group of people, a good portion of them innocent are the bad guys.

              You are right, it is a hard problem to solve, but certainly there is a difference between nurturing the idea of being fearless, vs. the idea of being fearful, the latter to me is what is being nourished by the administrative governments. This paranoia is rampantly promoted.

              I disagree about the relationship of being free makes an easy target for terrorist. The islamic radicals are after the “infidels” and that includes people from nations of the free and civilized world as well as other countries.

              You don’t necessarily need to find the enemy within. Treating everyone like they are potential enemies will nourish the potential for creating new enemies. Treating everyone with respect will nourish the potential for creating new friends. I’ll leave us with some quotes to think about and of course my thanks. I did enjoy your post and your personal sentiments. This is an important issue.

              The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
              Sun Tzu

              The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
              Abraham Lincoln

              The highest result of education is tolerance
              ― Helen Keller

              P.S. The photo of Kin Phuc I talked about.

    2. No, you are either ignorant or are lying for attention. The US government does not execute terror; terror includes the purposeful (not accidental, not collateral damage) targeting of civilians. The US has never had that as part of its cultural makeup; however every Islamic society does, because of the foundation of the Koran.

    3. First, I want to state that I fully support Apple’s effort to encrypt iOS and I think the NSA needs to find alternative methods for data gathering that don’t involve casting such a wide net. Having got that out of the way…

      Wow! What an echo chamber we have here, full of bleating and bluster but fatally myopic and lacking context and understanding of the global environment. So many of you are ready to vilify the U.S. but say nothing of what the rest of the world is up to. Many posters here appear to be living in a wealthy idealized information society tech centric bubble.

      Well, I’ve got news for you. Much of the larger world out there is seriously fscked up. It’s a nasty place. I’ve traveled extensively around the globe to rich and poor countries alike. And in much of the world very bad things happen routinely and it’s the norm. In poorer parts, government corruption from the local level to the highest office is tolerated. Slavery and child prostitution are officially denied but quietly supported by government officials. Sectarian violence is given the wink and a nod by those in power. There’s some real bad stuff going on out there.

      Yet many here are myopically focused on the U.S. and/or the NSA’s activities.

      The people at the NSA are genuinely good people who are trying to head off major terrorist events. I agree that they shouldn’t have blanket authority to surveil without a warrant. But to vilify them is a gross mischaracterization of who they are and what they are about. Why not focus on some of the real shit going on out there for a change.

  1. As corrupt and deceitful as the government is, we citizens are fortunate that the smartest people tend not to work for government. This means that the smarter people outside government will always be one step ahead of the dumbshits at NSA and other government agencies.

    The dumbshits may be better at propaganda, but when it comes to science and engineering–not so much.

    1. By your own logic, you should work for the government.

      There are a lot of very intelligent people employed by the U.S. government. You might ask why they do so, given the general disdain for public servants that has become popular in this country. They are called incompetent, corrupt, stupid, lazy….way to motivate them to do their best on your behalf, folks.

    2. How could it possibly be fortunate that the US Government have less competent people working for it? (Fortunately that isn’t true; the workforce general makeup is similar to the private sector.) We should want the very best working in government from an efficiency and ethical standpoint.

  2. Number one, talk about embellishing the facts:
    The original headline: iPhone encryption ‘petrified’ NSA: Greenwald

    MDN Headline: Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world.

    I haven’t read anything in the article that indicates that iOS encryption has “petrified” other world governments. Certainly other governments that have tried to emulate the U.S. should be petrified and with good reason. Tossing morality and integrity out the window, that is those of them that had it in the first place. That’s right at the bottom of the scale in my opinion and I’m sure I am not alone.

    Number two: There might be some of you out there that are finally waking up to the folly of your recent exploits over the last decades. There is still time to act positively and make changes like cease and desist, bring those responsible for those crimes against humanity to trial, stop the torture and close down your torture resorts once and for all.

    Do it soon, your time is running out and as you know karma is going to be a capital bitch.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

    And remember, I’m just the messenger.

    1. It was Glen Greenwald who specifically said They are now starting to put serious encryption technologies in their new iPhones in their new releases and this has really petrified governments around the world.

      If you watch the video on the source page, you’ll hear exactly what Greenwald stated. Elaborating ‘petrified’ to ‘the U.S. administration’ is a leap of logic.

      Meanwhile, of course, this drive DRIVE DRIVE to surveil everyone, everywhere, everytime, actually drives the world to dump citizen freedom and create totalitarian police states. That’s what history teaches us. That is also EXACTLY what the terrorists want. They win, we lose. We gave up our freedom rights and ideals because they pressured us to become as totalitarian as they are. Huge DUH, as far as I’m concerned.

      Nonetheless, there will always be sacrifices for the sake of actual citizen freedom. Terrorists will kill people. That’s the fact. But compromising citizen rights and freedoms for the sake of responding to terror is NOT an option, unless you’re a sucker to the terrorists.

      And as usual, there’s a sucker born every minute… 😛

      1. Thank you for providing some intelligence and understanding of the problem that we face. The drive to surveil everyone comes from a phenomenal lack of courage, an inveterate cowardice that infects public servants. Consider the Israeli government and how they handle airport security versus how the US handles it. Israel identifies likely enemies and targets them. Rather than offend some group somewhere, the US decides to offend everyone, ignoring the reality that people from certain countries with certain religious preferences are thousands of times more likely to be terrorists than say, Italian Methodists. It is madness.

        1. Yes, but… Has the USA ever been more up in arms about… Racial Profiling? It comes back to political correctness, not wanting to offend the innocent… Of course the baddies take advantage of the hyper-correctness backlash and laugh at it. – – Having to deal with this situation is extremely difficult, touchy, feely… All while enforcement officers worry for their personal lives while worrying about public lives while ultra-loon-level terrorists just want access to humans to kill and frighten into submission. Madness, logic and caring for others all walking the line in collision with one another.

          For those of us who want to be caring and logical, there have to be well defined defaults that are the best of both. When one hyper response from one or the other attacks a situation, explaining the purpose of these defaults must itself be a default. This provides a reliable level of stability rather than forcing yet another source of FUD into the situation. This is, I believe, the point of an enlightened ‘military’ approach. Keeping it enlightened is tough because we humans constantly strive for simplicity in the wake of complexity.

          A friend of mine would call the total result a BALANCE. Keeping that fulcrum point within a range that makes some sense to everyone is the goal.

      2. Mea Culpa Derek, I was emphatically wrong, and to think I read the article twice for pointing that out. I did think that the premise was good though, certainly there are other governments who are doing extensive prying on our personal communications without probable cause.

        I regret any inconvenience I have made regarding my post on the topic.

        I still think we are very much on the same page. Thanks for pointing out my error.

        Enjoy.

          1. Friends? Heck I already consider you my friend. Of course I come from that headspace: “trust someone until they give you reason not to.”

            Enjoy the weekend.

  3. Virtually every government around the world uses communications surveillance, and users are migrating to higher security products.

    I don’t think the NSA is “petrified.” The NSA has hacked a lot tougher jobs than an iPhone or email account. Governments are just going to have to hire more spies and do real intelligence acquisition.

    If Apple did NOT increase its security, they would simply see their sales be given up over time to companies which produce higher security products.

  4. The NSA really screwed up, when they decided to twist Apple’s arm. After years of Steve Jobs making them fight for every unlock, the feds decided to strong-arm his successor. When Tim finally caved the scandle broke, and he got burned. His response shows that Steve really rubbed off on him, since it’s exactly the kind of f… off that Steve loved to give his enemies.

  5. on the one hand I appreciate technology that banns the NSA from my private conversation.

    on the other hand I am concerned about what  turns into, the toys-r-us of computer business.

    but in the end there is one thing we can do:
    create complex passwords 😛

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