PayPal co-founder on why he’s changed his mind on Apple-FBI fight

“Over the course of the ongoing battle between Apple and the government over unlocking the iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist, Max Levchin — PayPal co-founder and CEO of financial tech company Affirm — said his views have changed from a ‘clear-cut, black and white’ stance of helping the FBI to supporting Tim Cook,” Rebecca Lee reports for CBS News.

“‘All of us — certainly I am as a parent and a husband – the initial reaction is, let’s help the law enforcement. It’s very clear Apple has been and wants to continue to do so, but it must have felt that the slope has gotten very slippery,’ Levchin told ‘CBS This Morning’ Friday,” Lee reports. “Levchin said the court order to “write code to surveil its customers is unprecedented.” Since the very beginning, the government has reiterated that this would be a one-time case, but Levchin has sided with Apple, suggesting there were are no absolute guarantees.”

Lee reports, “Levchin said by bringing the debate to the public, Cook wants to carry it Congress and the Supreme Court, to have ‘a clear set of laws created because there isn’t anything on the books today.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good to see that Mr. Levchin has come to his senses.

Apple privacy battle with Washington looms as watershed moment – February 26, 2016
Apple’s lawyer: If we lose, it will lead to a ‘police state’ – February 26, 2016
Apple: The law already exists that protects us from U.S. government demands to hack iPhone – February 26, 2016


  1. 21st century technology requires reinterpretation of US constitution to safeguard our privacy rights. The FBI had to reach back more than two centuries to find a legal rule to make its case which is alarming.

    1. Agree with first sentence, but your second went completely off the rails. Law has no expiration dates until repealed by proper legal process. It is as valid as the Constitution which prescribes the mechanisms by which law is created, executed, and validated in the USA. Don’t think for one millisecond that old law is bad law. It just needs updating and, yes, Supreme Court review and clarification once in a while.

      While we agree that reinterpretation of poorly written texts is generally a good idea once in a while, there are those who cling to their King James bibles (or one of approximately 36 other versions of the book) and declare that the words therein are timeless ultimate truth, with no possible errors and omissions. Then they spend their lives poring over the conflicting passages to find that there is always some little parable that justifies whatever they wanted to do anyway.

      The extremists — those who refuse to allow legal reform and those who demand to throw out good law with the bad whenever they wish — are dangerous people. Just listen to Trump, who struts around like he’s Mussolini.

      Sadly, it seems Congress and the most media-covered presidential candidates this year are legal idiots, which is why it is unlikely that the Constitution will ever be improved.

      1. Trump… Mussolini… I knew the Donald reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t think who until now! Mussolini famously made the trains run on time. EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY ABOVE ALL! President Trump will sort out the Bible mess by Executive Order, declaring the King James version the law of the land, solving a host of problems with a penstroke! Booyah, Pope Francis!

        He’s the first candidate we’ve had in a long time that can say with a straight face and with utter sincerity, “Complex problems can have simple solutions.” That’s music to the ears of the beleaguered millions of the world. That’s leadership! He has my vote. Except…he needs to back off Apple’s privacy stance. I don’t want that man reading my diary.

        1. yep, mussolini is a much better analogy than those who compare him to hitler. he is basically fascist at heart, and the donald also shares with him the love of bombast and preening mannerisms – the sure and certain signs of a deeply disturbed and profoundly narcissistic personality.

          google good old benito and click on images, those facial expressions captured as mussolini delivered his speeches are a perfect match with trump.

          plus, donald could take another hint from his role model and do us all a favor by shaving his head ridding us of his utterly baroque – or better yet, rococo – come-over hair-do to complete the transformation.

          but looking on the bright side, i strongly suspect that mr. trump will single-handedly destroy the republican party, which is not, on balance, a bad thing. at least in its current incarnation.

          where is dwight eisenhower when we really need him?

  2. For this to be a one time case, Apple would have to set up a burn room. Do the work, get the data, in isolation. Hand over the data, and then destroy the room with everyone in it. That is much harder to do, than the FBI, working with the NSA, and going the rout of dismounting the chips, reading the contents and cracking it directly.

    Sounds crazy right? Because it is. There is no such thing and doing this once. Because you can’t build a burn room and kill everyone in it, unless you are Ivan the Terrable or Stalin.

  3. One time. Give me a break. Seat belts for your own safety. Only if your pulled over for something else. Now it’s traffic stops and seatbelt checkpoint Charlie. One inch and it’s a hundred miles. Nope. Government has over reached too many times. You can keep your doctor. Hillary emails are ok. Privacy is not in the Constitution.

    Checkpoint Charlie in our neighborhoods on Saturday nights for DUIs but murderers and rapist waltz across our unguarded border.

  4. I have said and asked this question and no one can answer it, yet…
    Would Apple stand this strongly on “principles” if they had lots too lose? In this fight in the US, they have nothing tangible to lose except some “goodwill” from the public. Thats cheap.
    But, if this was in China and the chinese government demands were the same as the US, but with the threat of closing the Chinese market to Apple products, which they can and will do in a heartbeat, would Apple and Tim Cook would speak with such a big stick of righteousness?
    Oh, by the way, i am an aapl investor and a user of macbooks, iphones and ipads. So stop and dont waste your time saying anything about hater, etc. This is just plain common sense. Would Tim Cook risk to lose half of Apple iphone market for his principles? That I would like to discuss here, nothing else.

    1. Simple answer: No.

      Obviously life is not that simple to understand, so here is the better answer:

      As long as he is accountable to his share holders he will not risk losing iPhone market. He already declared his 100% wealth to charity. So, let not judge his personal benefits here…

      Why more people prefer US to live than China even though China has stricter punishment for crimes? world records in death punishments?

      This Took stand which enormously benefit general public in the future where privacy will be the most demanding thing. In case of China it is a known thing from day 1. There is no privacy or democracy there…where as in countries like US, India etc…we can debate and take a common ground for security and privacy.

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