Apple can’t – and won’t – decrypt your iPhone: Why it matters

“Governments use a variety of means — sometimes de facto or later found to be illegal or unconstitutional in the country in which it’s occurring — to extract the passwords, encryption keys, and other data they need. (So do criminals worldwide, although their actions are nearly uniformly against the law),” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “This narrative is required to justify the erosion of privacy in the name of fighting terror and finding justice. And government officials, whether in democracies or not, perpetuate it. Some seem to truly believe it, even though the number of cases in which it’s proven true is somewhere approaching zero.”

“Most recently, Apple has reiterated its stand that it won’t change the design of its hardware and software to allow even itself to access the information of its customers; its fighting government efforts in America and beyond to require modifications to allow it; and it’s stated bluntly to a court that, with iOS 8 and 9, it can’t provide the mechanism demanded,” Fleishman writes. “This is all good, and it doesn’t put us more at risk.”

“The idea of a magic back door is something some law-enforcement officials and government agencies hold dear—or at least claim they do, while understanding the truth,” Fleishman writes. “Law enforcement in the U.S. and other countries have hosts of tools they use already, and we don’t live in a magical world: practical police work and spy craft exist to track down those who do wrong by a government’s lights; a golden key only the righteous and just can wield is fantasy.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Amen!

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UK Prime Minister Cameron backs law to make Apple’s iPhone encryption illegal – November 3, 2015
Apple refused to give iMessages to the U.S. government – September 8, 2015
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
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
Apple’s iPhone encryption is a godsend, even if government snoops and cops hate it – October 8, 2014
Short-timer U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder blasts Apple for protecting users’ privacy against government overreach – September 30, 2014
FBI blasts Apple for protective users’ privacy by locking government, police out of iPhones and iPads – September 25, 2014
Apple thinks different about privacy – September 23, 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 will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – 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
Would you trade privacy for national security? Most Americans wouldn’t – August 6, 2014
Apple begins encrypting iCloud email sent between providers – July 15, 2014
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013
Apple’s iMessage encryption trips up U.S. feds’ surveillance – April 4, 2013


  1. If the iPhone and others have a back door, guess what?

    The US Govt can decrypt phones that all their employees use. Other governments who can decrypt their citizens can decrypt US govt employee’s phones, etc.

    No laptop or tablet would be immune from the same requirement as they are used as phones, too, meaning all devices would instantly become worthless for sensitive company information.

    Then the next “rule” to come down from the US Govt. would be that you would be guilty of a crime to use a device that did NOT have a back door.

    The whole issue is disgustingly ludicrous.

  2. I suspect this falls under the same behavior as IT staff pushing the use of Windows: job security.

    If law enforcement/government gets to put a magic back door into devices, not only does it make their job easier, it would also increase the amount of criminal activity (since hacking is also made easier), which would of course require more law enforcement resources to combat that crime.

  3. ’s continued respect for their customers’ privacy is an oft-overlooked weapon in their arsenal of “why choose an Apple product?” In this age of illegal government surveillance, I would like to see this given a higher priority in ’s marketing.

    Good article.

  4. I know some people will argue that Google, Microsoft, and Apple already have this information on you. They can’t throw you in jail, take your property, or garnish your paycheck. The restrictions on the government should be clear and limited.

    We act like this is new, it is not. For decades J. Edger Hover ran the FBI with little oversight. He kept secret files on politicians, celebrities, and activiststhat he could use to his advantage. He destroyed careers to keep America the way he wanted it. He was never elected and never had to explain his, or the FBI’s, actions. This while leaving a secret life himself, homosexuality. He ruined people’s lives for doing what he was doing. Today Homeland Security has more power than he had. Who is running that?

    Beware of anyone who denounces history education. Media that makes fun of it and politicians who defund it are doing so for a reason. They know their ideas have failed before and want to keep people ignorant of the facts. You may not agree with the content of a history lesson; however the concept of being able to understand history’s impact is important.

  5. What does he mean by “de facto” in this context? Legal means? Means which are intended for some other purpose but which are used to crack phones?

    Poor education and the lack of editorial input in today’s blogging culture increasingly means that readers find themselves having to decipher nonsense.

    If you don’t understand the language, how can you expect anyone to understand what you mean?


    The USA is all about citizen’s rights. It’s NOT a totalitarian society where everyone is a suspected criminal, no matter how fiercely, stupidly and unconstitutionally our corporatocracy and over-zealous government security agencies wish it to be so.

    Protecting US citizens BEGINS with protecting their RIGHTS. Worrying about the bad guys, both real and FUD concocted, comes secondary. Deal with it.

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