Edward Snowden explains why Apple should continue to fight the government on encryption

“As the Obama administration campaign to stop the commercialization of strong encryption heats up, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is firing back on behalf of the companies like Apple and Google that are finding themselves under attack,” Jenna McLaughlin reports for The Intercept. “‘Technologists and companies working to protect ordinary citizens should be applauded, not sued or prosecuted,’ Snowden wrote in an email through his lawyer.”

“In his email, Snowden explained how law enforcement officials who are demanding that U.S. companies build some sort of window into unbreakable end-to-end encryption — he calls that an ‘insecurity mandate’ — haven’t thought things through,” McLaughlin reports. “‘The central problem with insecurity mandates has never been addressed by its proponents: if one government can demand access to private communications, all governments can,’ Snowden wrote.”

No matter how good the reason, if the U.S. sets the precedent that Apple has to compromise the security of a customer in response to a piece of government paper, what can they do when the government is China and the customer is the Dalai Lama? …Putting the most important driver of our economy in a position where they have to deal with the devil or lose access to international markets is public policy that makes us less competitive and less safe. — Edward Snowden

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.United States Constitution, Amendment IV

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

SEE ALSO:
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
U.S. Senate blocks measures to extend so-called Patriot Act; NSA’s bulk collection of phone records in jeopardy – May 23, 2015
Rand Paul commandeers U.S. Senate to protest so-called Patriot Act, government intrusion on Americans’ privacy – May 20, 2015
Apple, others urge Obama to reject any proposal for smartphone backdoors – May 19, 2015
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk collection of phone data illegal – May 7, 2015
In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed – March 26, 2015
Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world – March 19, 2015
Obama criticizes China’s demands for U.S. tech firms to hand over encryption keys, install backdoors – March 3, 2015
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
DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying – November 19, 2014
Me-too Google: Uh, okay, we’ll do default encryption like Apple, too (it’ll just take several years to roll out) – September 18, 2014
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

60 Comments

  1. Agreed on MDN’s take.

    You can’t disregard the United States constitution. Government officials who dare to disagree with this shouldn’t be in office nor in the United States for that matter. They’re welcome to create a new constitution elsewhere… like Mars without a space suit. The general public actually likes the rights the constitution offers us. It’s the one thing that makes the United States a great place we can take pride in. Don’t try to take that from us just because you have a different agenda, because that agenda doesn’t belong here. Respect the constitution, or GTFO.

    1. Read the entire wording of Article IV. Notice “but upon probable cause . . . ” Your defense of the Constitution ignores that. You can’t pick and choose some bits and ignore the rest. “Probable Cause” is In the Constitution.

      1. And so we get to put a permanent window of insecurity in all software for everyone in the chance that probable cause becomes the reason? “but upon probable cause…” doesn’t justify it, because for the vast majority there is not probable cause.

      2. The Constitution does not grant the government rights. It defines the government and how it works. It does not grant the government the right to break into your possessions when there is probable cause. In fact you’re not required to incriminate yourself. If the government has probable cause it’s up to them to figure out how to proceed.

      3. “Upon probable cause” means the government can request specific information about specific parties — as defined by the “probable cause” evidence that, incidentally, must be vetted independently by the third-party judiciary — from various sources. With a subpoena, the parties must comply with the govt data request.

        The “probable cause” clause does not give the government the blanket right to browse these companies’ data (on many individuals) on the basis of the assuming the “probable cause” that some of them may well turn out to be criminals or terrorists. You need the specific probable cause first. Then you subpoena the company for data.

        And if the companies don’t keep the requested data? Well, at that point, the government is out of luck. It needs to go old school. Get some incarcerating evidence on the criminals/terrorists of interest.

        The govt cannot require companies like Apple and Google to maintain data on all their individual users just in case the govt might like to subpoena data on some specific individuals.

      1. 1st Amendment: You think our constitution should be used to force Apple not to exercise its own right to free speech (i.e. decide what it wants to have said or not said) within its own ecosystem?

        14th Amendment: You think Apple is suppressing equal rights?

        Wow, you are reading the Constitution exactly upside down.

        1. My right to free speech on my device trumps Apple’s right. ANd it’s Apple that put the barrier’s in, which is the source of the conflict. Think it’s just Apps? Jobs once blanket banned Wiley publications for a while because they didn’t like a book they published about him.

          If I want to self curate I would buy exclusively from Apple’s store on iOS. But, alas, there is no other store,

          14th Amendment. Stay out of my cloud drive. Stop artificially impeding my device. You do know Apple has tracked physical location in the past right?

    2. Tflint: Let’s be SPECIFIC about the entire phrase in the US Constitution:

      …but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      As per the rest of the US Constitution, the above is specific to US citizens on US soil.

      Nothing prevents a citizen from locking up their belongings with a key residing in their head. There is nothing that says the device in which someone has locked up their belongings has to have a secret key that lets in the government or anyone else.

      If Apple or any other company doesn’t allow a person to lock up their belongings for the sake of privacy, then each person themselves will lock up their belongings. Apple and companies actually have nothing to do with this. They’re only offering the devices for locking up one’s belongings. This is ALL about each individual citizen and what they choose to do. The government or anyone else can’t stop Apple or anyone else from offering privacy devices to citizens.

      IOW: We’re in loony territory here where the citizen is being treated as a Default Criminal who is going to break the law. So, from that sick and demented premise, every citizen’s private belongings have to be able to be exposed to the government.

      NO, that is never the case!

      And, as I often say, never confuse defending human and citizen rights with defending bad guys. At this point in time, the bad guys are ‘terrorists’ of various kinds and definitions. This is plain and simple defending the citizen from the intrusion of the government into their private lives.

      Q: Who does the government serve?
      A: This citizens, and no one else. That includes corporations or special interests, ad nauseam. It is ALL about us, We The People.

      We demand our right to privacy. Deal with the consequences, government and law enforcement that serves us.

    1. Agreed. He exposed traitors in our government and we just cannot stand for that can we!!!

      All whistle blowers must be punished to the full extent of the law ( and 90% more).

      We need to focus on what the Lords of industry need and want now. They and their greed are all that is important.

      God bless lord Trump and the next King of America. Or Trump Land. Whatever.
      /s super big time.

    2. No Rob. Snowden needs to be recognized as a patriotic whistleblower who uncovered crimes of our US government perpetrated against its own citizens.

      Snowden is by definition a whistleblower, not a criminal. He was only made a ‘criminal’ but the corrupt government he revealed to be corrupt.

      1. And besides the corrupt government are the groups that control it . The interest of the people should be above everything else but actually it is some very powerful groups that profit from whatever the government does. Democracy is a disguise for the USA , where the real face is fascism.

        1. I have to agree, certainly from the conventional definition of fascism. It’s trending in that direction, an thoroughly self-destructive form of mismanaging anything. I wish those of us with a conscience didn’t have to watch this display of other people’s conscience in decay.

        1. I believe the point is that he should not even be ‘charged’ as a criminal. He is instead a whistleblower and as such should be protected from being prosecuted.

          Wouldn’t it be great if there really was a functional international court of justice that could protect government whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden? Or would that trigger the apocalypse? I can’t recall.

    3. The president should pardon Edward Snowden.

      That would be the constitutional way to deal with someone who had the courage to do something very right, despite it being technically illegal.

      I weep for the ignorant who think whistleblowers are a greater threat to freedom than massive secret government surveillance carried out on its own citizens while deceiving congress about its nature.

      1. Patriots/Whistleblowers don’t need pardons…they need recognition…and action to stop the overt or covert abuses against the citizens of this country.

  2. The US Govt doesn’t yet realize that if back doors are deliberately used, that there will be no secure financial transactions for either personal or business use.

    Every hacker in the world, and dishonest people inside of the Gov’t with “back door info” will be the ones who will try to get windfalls and endanger all citizens

    1. My inclination is to consider the US Govt too stupid in general to comprehend the technology involved. They’ve had the top software security experts of the world point out to them that their concept does not work. But they’re too politically bent on playing out the ‘1984’ scenario to comprehend or care.

  3. Nothing to worry about, when it comes to Apple and security. This one is easy to call, unfortunately.

    When the time comes, Apple will fold like a circus tent.

    They will capitulate to the feds because they have a “fiduciary responsibility” to their stockholders. That’s the way they’ll justify it.

    It does not have to be this way, but most Americans will support most anything which claims to “fight terrorism.”

    1. I see no reason to agree with you at this point in time. Apple has been contrarian to US Govt crimes against its citizens from the beginning of this debacle and has only pressed its case and its security technology even harder over time.

      As for ‘fiduciary responsibility’, that sounds like a total non sequitur. How is Apple going to lose any money defending the constitutional rights of its US citizens? It won’t. It will instead increase profit because Apple is the one reliable place (with arguably Blackberry in Canada) citizens can go to make certain the constitution rights are honored. They certainly are NOT being honored by the US Govt., which is the entire debacle.

            1. When a president tries to make things differently gets shot, e.g. JFK. And most of the candidates are clowns and puppets of some economic groups.

            2. Mr. Trump represents one perspective, and not one that many in the world find respectable, kind, helpful, meaningful, good, useful, caring, sharing, creative, collaborative…

              I remember when the Republican party wasn’t insane and I used to vote for their candidates.

      1. @ Derek Currie

        I did not say I want this outcome. I certainly do NOT want this outcome.

        You’re thinking about this logically, rationally, but the people who want Apple’s “cooperation” don’t play by the rules. Right now, they’re being nice to Apple by “asking” for what they will ultimately take someday.

        1. I hope it the self-deception of the US government never becomes that dire. But I can see your point very well. It has happened before and the consequences are entirely predictable, at least from my perspective. But rather than play at being Cassandra, I’d rather watch this play out while fighting for the side of We The People. IOW: Sympathy for your words.

  4. Citizens = Default Criminals in the eyes of its own government.

    Does this sound familiar? It is core of the corporate abuse against their own customers being constantly perpetrated in their lobbying of the US government. Here are a few nasty pieces of legislation and US treaties where corporations have pushed the Default Criminal bad attitude relentlessly:

    SOPA / PIPA – resoundingly rejected by US citizens
    CISPA – resoundingly rejected by US citizens
    ACTA – resoundingly rejected by both US citizens and EU citizens
    Fast Track – The unconstitutional prevention of Senate debate regarding treaties. Resoundingly rejected by US citizens AND YET still approved by the Republican lead House and Senate: Itself a crime against the US Constitution. Signed by President Obama: Itself a crime against the US Constitution.
    TPP / TPPA – Pending.
    TTIP / TAFTA – Pending.

    IOW:
    – Corporations abuse We The People.
    – Corporations significantly run the US Government.
    – Therefore, the US Government abuses We The People.

    We are NOT default criminals and must NEVER be treated that way by anyone. It is 100% the opposite of constitutional law whereby everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    Sickness in America.

    [Check out my bolding skills!] 😉

    1. You might as well include the Patriot Act and the 2012 NDAA. Overall, there probably are some honest folks in the government that try to defend freedom, but compartmentalization has left them either impotent or unaware. The leaders that did violate our inalienable rights should bare the brunt of the blame and be held accountable. So, who or what is going to prosecute? Malaysia?

      Is the final solution revolution? Nah, it wouldn’t be a fare fight. Does your team own tanks or jet fighters? There is possibly another answer: over the centuries our forefathers left oppressive Lands in search of freedom and opportunity. Our generation needs to do the same. Apple should hire the Harold White’s from NASA, build faster than light-speed craft and begin a new colony on another rock. We will name the planet Freedom and have The Beatles play on Friday’s.

  5. I’m getting really tired of the misuse of the Benjamin Franklin quote, which originally stood for essentially the opposite proposition to how it is commonly used these days. I have been hoping that someone else would point this out, but apparently not.

    The context for the quote is that the Pennsylvania colonial legislature had adopted taxes to pay for the French and Indian War. The Penn family – by far the largest landowners in the colony – argued that this interfered with their private property rights and ability to conduct business in a free market. They used their political influence to block the legislation, but offered to make a voluntary one-time payment sufficient to finance the war effort if the legislature would disclaim its asserted power to adopt the mandatory tax.

    Franklin (and others) pointed out that the payment would allow the Penns to literally purchase the short-term security of Pennsylvania against the French and Indians, but only at the cost of the colony’s liberty to govern itself. That would be a very bad bargain. A government without the power to tax is hardly a government at all (as the Articles of Confederation later showed). If the people of Pennsylvania accepted the offer, they and their elected representatives would be unable to respond to future threats to public safety and welfare. So, in the long term, the people would have surrendered their liberty without really guaranteeing their security. Instead of both, they would have neither.

    It is simply wrong-headed to use the Ben Franklin quote as support for the proposition that individuals have the right to defend their personal liberty at all costs against state demands for security. Perhaps that is true, but Franklin was making a very different argument: any real political community must have the liberty to regulate individuals who assert their private interests against the public good. That principle might also apply to the encryption issue, but not quite the way MDN implies.

    1. “…any real political community must have the liberty to regulate individuals who assert their private interests against the public good.”

      No way do we have this in the USA. We have the opposite: a government that protects and defends the private interests of the rich and powerful, who don’t give a rat’s ass about the public good.

  6. Control the means of transmission and the government cares not what false security encryption apple employs. Your data is the government’s whether you like it or not. It is almost a guarantee that the chips and hardware themselves are backdoored. Apple can put out feel good press releases and tell us what we want to hear, but never forget who is really pulling the strings behind the scenes, silly little peasants.

  7. Re the MDN take, in particular: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775”
    Patrick Henry was the largest slaveholder in Virginia at the time he made that statement. Kind of shows his extreme hypocrisy.

    1. Of course. That’s one of the dirty little secrets of the American Revolution. The English Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield, had recently held that slavery was unknown to the Common Law and unsupported by statute. It took another thirty years, until 1807, but the handwriting was on the wall that Great Britain would eventually prohibit the slave trade.

      The Southern colonies were economically dependent on slavery, though less so than after the widespread adoption of the cotton gin. Significantly, the Northern economy was almost equally founded on the “three-cornered” trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas, much of which was carried in Yankee ships. The South did not play a major role in the slave trade, except as the ultimate purchasers.

      Early drafts of the Declaration of Independence listed British interference with the slave trade among the grievances against the King. That was dropped, but it was still a factor in the move towards independence. A few free African-Americans supported the Patriot cause, but the majority were Loyalists because they saw the British as less committed to promoting slavery. Many of them moved to Canada after the peace. The new American Constitution expressly protected the slave trade until at least 1808. “All men are created equal” was a cruel jest.

      It is just rank hypocrisy for Yankees to behave as if the current residents of the Old Confederacy are responsible for racism in America. Most Southerners today are recent arrivals or, at most, descended from people who moved to the region after 1865. Even in the Old South, there were far fewer families whose wealth was ultimately derived from slavery and the slave trade than there were in the North. If we are going to purge the nation from its Confederate memorials, perhaps we should do the same for the Revolutionary heroes.

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