Manhattan DA fires back after Apple CEO Cook defends stance on encryption

“Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance fired back at Apple CEO Tim Cook Sunday night over the executive’s repeated backlash against a federal push for government access to encrypted text messages and emails,” CBSNewYork reports.

“In an exclusive interview with ’60 Minutes” Charlie Rose, Cook remained firm on his position,” CBSNewYork reports. “‘If the government lays a proper warrant on us today, then we will give the specific information that is requested, because we have to by law. In the case of encrypted information, we don’t have it to give,’ Cook said. ‘I don’t believe the trade-off here is privacy versus national security,’ he added later.”

“In November, Vance teamed up with FBI Director James Comey to unveil legislation that would require companies like Apple and Google to give the government access to encrypted information,” CBSNewYork reports. “The push for federal legislation came to light after the terror attacks on Paris and, more recently, in San Bernardino, California.”

MacDailyNews Take: Three quotes:

• You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. — Rahm Emanuel

• Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. ― Louis D. Brandeis

• Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds. — John Perry Barlow

“‘If there’s a way to get in, then somebody will find a way to get in,’ Cook said. ‘There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is, if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody,'” CBSNewYork reports. “Vance believes that Cook’s resistance should only mean a swifter call to action. ‘Because Apple is unwilling to help solve this problem, the time for a national, legislative solution is now,’ Vance said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Adhere to the U.S. Constitution. Yes, even you, Cyrus.

Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say. ― Edward Snowden

Apple CEO Tim Cook opposes government back door to encryption – December 21, 2015
Donald Trump: To stop ISIS recruiting, maybe we should be talking to Bill Gates about ‘closing that Internet up in some way’ – December 21, 2015
Hillary Clinton: We need to put Silicon Valley tech firms to ‘work at disrupting ISIS’ – December 7, 2015
Tim Cook attacks Google, U.S. federal government over right to privacy abuses – June 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
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
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, 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’s iMessage encryption trips up U.S. feds’ surveillance – April 4, 2013


  1. I can’t tell if these so called law enforcement types are:

    1. Dumb as a rock and don’t understand backdoors can be used by everyone, good and bad.
    2. Don’t care if the bad guys can get through the back doors as long as they can.

    Like I said the other day, backdoors can be used by good and bad guys and the government is one of the bad guys.

    1. The law enforcement types ARE the bad guys. Power mad with no redeeming qualities. “Everyone must place a key to their house under the welcome mat so that good people can break in and poke around”

    2. They are mostly lazy. They want Apple to make their work easier, instead of becoming part of the trusted group of citizens who work together to keep would be law breakers at bay.

      We can’t trust law enforcement as long as they believe that fealty to their colleagues is more important than their duty to every citizen. DAs need to start prosecuting uniformed murderers. When they stop gunning down unarmed kids they might start building trust. Right now they’re not gunning for me, but I’m smart enough to get that their target might change.

    3. You guys are way to quick to broadly paint all government and all law enforcement in a negative light. It is very simple and easy to do so, but it is also very wrong. It pains me to see how many positive votes that your comments have received so far. Without law and law enforcement, there is no society. Anarchy is not an attractive alternative.

        1. So, bot, a “police state” is the only alternative to anarchy?

          KingMel has it right; laws, and reasonable enforcement of those laws, are necessary prerequisites for a peaceful society. And a Constitution – which is respected by everyone from the President (I know this is a novel idea) on down – is required to prevent a police state.

          1. Respected by our “constitutional lawyer president”?, you gotta be kidding us.
            Since he got into office the world is a mess, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Arab Springs, Syria, Isis, Isil or whatever, Boko Haram in Africa, false flags in Fort Hood, Colorado, Boston,San Bernardino and Bush Jr started it all with 9/11 (Google “9/11 and building 7 “, where the BBC announced the collapse 20 minutes before it did collapse LOL!!!!!)

      1. The trouble is the government has proven time and time again they’ll brazenly violate fundamental rights of their citizens.

        I’d just like to see the look on Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance’s face when he hears a legitimate government in some other country wants to use that back door to see *his* communications.

  2. You know its an interesting dilemma. The bank analogy kind of makes you think.

    If a criminal is storing ill gotten gain or specific evidence in a bank safety deposit box, the bank is required to open it under subpoena and provide the contents to the requesting party.

    While the bank gives the safety deposit box holder a key to open yet the bank maintains the ownership and right to open the box if not paid and has access to its contents.

    I don’t think criminals deserve privacy. Maybe the answer is to allow encryption to be turned off under subpoena. It won’t do much for history, but would allow future transmissions to be read.

    1. “Maybe the answer is to allow encryption to be turned off under subpoena”

      what Cook is saying is that if Apple can open a backdoor so can hackers. So everyone’s bank info, etc are vulnerable.

  3. What’s with the hyperbolic rhetoric? “fires Back”?

    Until we drop the language of 5th graders we will never be able to have educated discourse on any topic.

    MDN is full of such nonsense.

    1. Than it is decided upon this 21st of December in the year 2015 that “Big Old Mouth” will henceforth be prescribed to suck a “bag of dicks” until he or she no longer wilts around those speaking heatedly, uses rhetoric or uses foul language.

  4. These people clearly have no idea that the laws of nature cannot be altered nor repealed by the laws of man.

    I wonder if these people grasp that any “backdoors” legislated into law will also leave their phones and devices accessible?

  5. If I were a terrorist why would I rely on encryption from Apple or anyone at all? Let me get this right……let’s assume there is a group of, say, 50 terrorists who want to communicate securely. All they have to do is get the KEY to each person in their group. This can be done physically….same as they used to deliver those tapes from UBL’s cave in Afghanistan to the media, by hand. Once these 50 or so people have this “KEY” they can communicate with a home made encryption app of some sort using well known encryption algorithms. They don’t even NEED apples encryption.

    All the government will do is make communication between normal people like you and me insecure while the terrorists can get around this problem quite easily. Does government bozo’s not understand this? And if they truly do not understand this, why is no one explaining this to them?

    1. > Do government bozo’s not understand this?

      Yes they do. They are marginally interested in terrorists, but very much in ordinary citizens.

      As I said before:

      These spying schemes have nothing to do with terrorists or criminals and never have. The shere scale of them shows this. Logic dictates that the most common subject spied upon is the intended target, and that’s ordinary civilians. This should be glaringly obvious.

      Terrorists and criminals are rarely considered a threat to a state (although they are of course presented as such), but its civilians are. So states have always wanted to know what their subjects were thinking and whether any threats could emerge from that. States of old try to suppress freedom of expression so ideas can not reach critical mass. When that doesn’t work anymore, they switch to managing freedom of expression. When that doesn’t work anymore, they switch to managing people’s ability to come to an informed opinion. In order to be able to do that you have to know what people think in detail. In this day and age that means Big Data to the rescue!

      Before 9/11 some safeguards still existed here and there against wholesale spying on the population, but 9/11 gave the states the opportunity to negate those safeguards. And because of the size of the operations it had to come out at some point. If Ed Snowden hadn’t exposed what he found somebody else would have. There are just too many people involved.

      So I applaud Tim Cook for his stance on encryption, and I’ll stick with Apple for that.

  6. So, do Ms. Clinton, this DA & the various spy orgs expect that Apple is going to make one version of the device/OS for the USA, and one for the rest of the world that actually understands technology?

  7. “Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, he should go after gun company, Corporations won’t like it. if no-one owned guns, there won’t be any shooting to begin with. It is ridiculous going after a phone company. People bank accounts need to be private.

  8. Again, MDN displays its political bias and hipocrasy. If they had bothered to do some fact checking on the supposed Rahm Emanuel quote, instead of parroting this standard right wing, conservative, talking point, they would have discovered that this quote was taken totally out of context:

    Emanuel was suggesting the idea that crises often present opportunities for coming up with new ideas or looking at things in a totally different way, not an opportunity to take advantage and bend or break the law.

    MDN LOVES to pontificate about how others in the media distort the truth, but they have no problem doing it themselves as long as their distortions serve their partisan viewpoint.

  9. THANK YOU APPLE! Keep up the good fight! The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution is here to stay. Government violations are not.

    The Fourth Amendment To The US 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.”

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

  10. The donut patrol and associated spooks think it is their right to sit on their ass, look at a computer screen or video display and see where you are, know what you are doing, see what you are thinking and all at your expense- without a warrant. The craven politicians and the profit seeking companies that get rich supplying and serving the national surveillance / security state are all too happy to throw out your civil liberties – Constitution be damned. A servile for-profit news media is all too happy to scare the poorly informed to death to enable the same.

    The way it is supposed to work is that law enforcement serves us, minds our civil liberties (get a warrant, etc)’ and looks out for public safety. Politicians are supposed to see and serve the will of the people and the media to inform the people without bias.

    None of that is happening.

    For all the hacking of phones, spying on computers and interception of data, they have missed any number of domestic and foreign terror attacks. The few cases they have shown the public where they intercepted plots the FBI and others entrapped and enabled people so stupid they could not be trusted to change the oil in their car- much less conduct a successful attack.

    Careerist politicians running for President- Hillary on the Right and any Republican on the far Right- want to flush your privacy down the toilet after they wipe their ass on the Bill of Rights.

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