Apple makes a strong case for strong encryption; some politicians don’t know what they’re talking about

“It’s only Tuesday and already this week Apple has come out twice — guns a-blazing — against efforts by law enforcement agencies to weaken public-key encryption in the name of national security,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “The issue came up in the 60 Minutes interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook that aired Sunday, and it surfaced again Monday when the company filed an eight-page brief opposing Britain’s Investigatory Powers Bill — the so-called ‘snooper charter.'”

“The political winds may shift—for encryption when the NSA runs amok, against encryption when terrorists strike — but the crux of the matter never changes. It’s a matter of arithmetic,” P.E.D. reports. “In one 2009 experiment, it took hundreds of computers two years to guess the prime factor of a single 232-digit number. Researchers estimated that a 1024-bit key would take 1,000 times longer.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Politicians around the globe tell us that for our own protection and security we must grant surveillance agencies a backdoor to today’s unbreakable encryption,” Jean-Louis Gassée writes for Monday Note. “While one is tempted to ask, glibly, if these leaders are ignorant, delusional, or dishonest – or all of the above — the question of granting or denying selective access to encrypted communications doesn’t lend itself to glib answer.”

“Modern cryptography is unbreakable,” Gassée writes. “And even when computers become incrementally faster and threaten to break the code, we can simply move to longer keys (longer passwords, if you will).”

Much more in the full article, “Let’s Outlaw Math,” here.

MacDailyNews Take: G. K. Chesterton said it best: It isn’t that they cannot see the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem.

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, for good guys and bad guys. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, December 2015

Hillary Clinton wants a ‘Manhattan Project’ to cure encryption; Snowden, Andreessen mock – December 21, 2015
Apple launches counteroffensive against UK’s proposed new surveillance law – December 21, 2015
Manhattan DA fires back after Apple CEO Cook defends stance on encryption – December 21, 2015
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
Do not let the government snoops weaken encryption – November 4, 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 Tim Cook warns of ‘dire consequences’ of sacrificing privacy for security – February 13, 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. Donald Trump may talk like a brownshirt, but the Democrats mean business. For those of you keeping track, the Democrats and their allies on the left have now: voted in the Senate to repeal the First Amendment, proposed imprisoning people for holding the wrong views on global warming, sought to prohibit the showing of a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton, proposed banning politically unpopular academic research, demanded that funding politically unpopular organizations and causes be made a crime and that the RICO organized-crime statute be used as a weapon against targeted political groups. They have filed felony charges against a Republican governor for vetoing a piece of legislation, engaged in naked political persecutions of members of Congress, and used the IRS and the ATF as weapons against political critics.

    On the college campuses, they shout down unpopular ideas or simply forbid nonconforming views from being heard there in the first place. They have declared academic freedom an “outdated concept” and have gone the full Orwell, declaring that freedom is oppressive and that they should not be expected to tolerate ideas that they do not share. They are demanding mandatory ideological indoctrination sessions for nonconforming students. They have violently assaulted students studying in libraries and assaulted student journalists documenting their activities. They have staged dozens of phony hate crimes and sexual assaults as a pretext for persecuting unpopular organizations and people.

    What they cannot achieve by legislation or litigation, they seek to achieve by simple violence, left-wing activists having smashed, looted, and burned portions of Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, where Koreans and other Asian minorities were specifically targeted. As on college campuses, they have made a point of assaulting journalists documenting their violence. They have rioted in Philadelphia and in other cities.

    I encourage open-minded, freedom-loving people — including Democrats who may have a nagging inkling about the situation today — to read the full article: The Democrats’ Theme for 2016 Is Totalitarianism

    1. F2K14T1K16 – What you say, sounds like similar tactics coming from the right. So who smells it – deals it, first comes to mind.

      Encryption – In recent incidents – certain government agencies, can’t seem to protect their own data. They have access to first class security, yet they practically let the other side in, at will.

      With data breaches, and constant flow of private information that only you and your mother, typically know, it’s quite possible that “privacy” is being made obsolete. No longer is security is based on what you know, but on what you have.

      If the governments of the world are so keen on controlling encryption and the flow of information, why not get into the communication / encryption business? Play with the players.

      What is the difference between a citizen in a walled garden a terrorist wrapped in a trojan horse?

      The government says, weaken the garden walls because we want to get in, in case terrorists are there.

      The reality, terrorists do not trust the citizens or the walled garden, intrinsically they will not be found there – until it’s too late. All the while, wolves and other entities see the weak walls and find ways in, picking off the citizens.

      This is really helpful to our national security.

    2. Fwhatever, the scary thing is that your ridiculous, completely fabricated fantasy of a post received any positive votes other than your own, kent’s, and a few other similarly deluded people who post on this forum. You post does not even warrant refutation, it is so incredibly outlandish.

      I will say this, however. You and you ilk regularly attack me complaining vociferously about imagined hypocrisy or the lack of this or that supporting evidence that you claim is absolutely essential. You twist things and poke at minutiae in an attempt to discredit perfectly sound reasoning and logic, time and time again. And then you post fantasy and expect people to swallow it?

      You are an incredibly misguided person and should probably be on medication and under active psychiatric care. You can spout BS to your heart’s desire, but I have no need to ever counter any of your future posts on this forum. Have fun entertaining yourself.

  2. This whole issue of government-mandated backdoors to encrypted data will evaporate the day an Iranian court order arrives at Apple headquarters seeking the key to POTUS data and communications, or a Russian court order shows up seeking access to ExxonMobil documents.

  3. Calling for a “Manhattan” style project where government would create a way to allow the feds access to encrypted data “without a back door” as Secretary Clinton did in the last Democratic debate is complete gibberish.

    (And though she in fact, as she admitted, really didn’t understand what she was talking about, she – and the other politicians who want in on all data – do understand some of the implications, i.e., the compromising of privacy rights.)

    The notion of “access with no back door” reminds me of nothing as much as the ancient debates about what the omnipotence of God meant…. …as in “Could God make a rock so big he couldn’t lift it?”

    There’s either a direct way in or there isn’t. And once, in whatever way, there is such a way, as the article posted about what happened to Juniper Networks, and whether you call it a door, a peephole, a key or whatever, i.e., more gov’t access – as many of the prexy contenders would support – it’s game over for data security.

    As the “non-back-door-back-door” would spread from the NSA, CIA, FBI, DEA, etc. inevitably down to local law enforcement…. ….and be stolen or replicated by hackers, hostile governments, business competitors, etc.

    Fuhgeddaboudit….. :/

  4. Use the FRONT DOOR. All encryption has a front door with a key that can be opened.

    Search warrants being hard to get doesn’t necessarily mean we need to create more destructive battering rams and weaker doors.

    How about trying to make the court system for authorizing legal searches more efficient? How about making straight forward laws about encryption, that both respects constitutional rights to privacy and makes clear guidelines for obtaining encryption keys during criminal investigations?

    Leaving our back door open is no longer safe, now that everyone knows about it. Some say leaving the back door open was never safe to begin with. Either way, it’s now time we fix the front door, and start using it like normal people.

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