Apple will tell Congress that strong encryption protects against terrorists

“Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell plans to tell Congress on Tuesday that strong encryption in iPhones protects users from terrorist and hacker attacks while rejecting calls from the FBI to weaken the popular phone’s security protections,” Aaron Pressman reports for Yahoo Finance.

“‘We feel strongly that our customers, their families, their friends and their neighbors will be better protected from thieves and terrorists if we can offer the very best protections for their data,’ Sewell said in a copy of his opening statement released by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday,” Pressman reports. “‘And at the same time, the freedoms and liberties we all cherish will be more secure,’ [Sewell said].”

“Sewell is scheduled to speak on a panel with with New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance and Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor Susan Landau before the committee at a hearing starting at 1 p.m.,” Pressman reports. “The three speakers will be proceeded by FBI director James Comey, who will address the committee first and by himself.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Do the right thing, U.S. Congress.

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

This is not about this phone. This is about the future. And so I do see it as a precedent that should not be done in this country or in any country. This is about civil liberties and is about people’s abilities to protect themselves. If we take encryption away… the only people that would be affected are the good people, not the bad people. Apple doesn’t own encryption. Encryption is readily available in every country in the world, as a matter of fact, the U.S. government sponsors and funs encryption in many cases. And so, if we limit it in some way, the people that we’ll hurt are the good people, not the bad people; they will find it anyway. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, February 2016

Oppose government overreach.

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

Visit the Apple-backed today.

U.S. Magistrate Judge: The U.S. government cannot force Apple to unlock an iPhone in New York drug case – February 29, 2016
Manhattan D.A. claims Apple is crippling investigations across the country – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple’s top lawyer: U.S. government order weakens security for all iPhones – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook can probably defy the US government all he wants and not go to jail – February 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook picks up where Snowden left off in privacy debate – February 29, 2016
Obama administration set to expand sharing of data that N.S.A. intercepts – February 28, 2016
If Apple loses, your home could be the next thing that’s unlocked: Access to your security cameras would be just a judge order away – February 28, 2016
The Apple vs. FBI fight is about something more basic than software and laws – February 28, 2016
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. dear president obama and fbi director comey,

    as has been observed elsewhere, and rightfully so,

    george orwell wrote 1984 as a warning, not an instruction manual.

    benjamin franklin had it right and still does today.

  2. Even if you trusted the US government explicitly what’s to then stop another government asking for the same thing? Even if you trusted them you’re already substantially increasing the numbers who have access and could potentially lose control of that access. I may trust emergency services intentions if they wanted a master key for every lock to gain access in an emergency, but I have no faith that simple human error might then lead to that key being stolen/mislaid/made available to people who shouldn’t have it. There are just too many potential risks.

  3. Didn’t NYC complain not too long ago (a few years back) that iPhone thefts were rampant because the phones were too easy to repurpose for nefarious use due to lack of security? Now that the phones are secure and theft rates have plummeted, the same city wants Apple to make their phones less secure! Well, less secure enough for their own agencies to hack, supposedly.

  4. I am with Apple. They can not create a backdoor and entrusted to our government. They can not guarantee our safety from terrorist and we are going to trust them with a key to the master lock? This back door can be perverted into a weapon that is a thousand times worst than a Nuclear Bomb. Everyone not only here in the US but in other countries will be at risk. Everyone who has an iPhone has all the personal information of our credit cards, our families, our homes, our jobs and even our cars. Nothing will be same anymore. Those lives in California could have been spared if our government done a better job in protecting us. They always put the pieces of the puzzle together when it is too late. To quote Star Trek: “The needs of the many, outweighs the needs of the few,” I am deeply saddened for the lives that was lost in this event, but we need to count them of casualties of the war on terrorism to protect the greater number that can be hurt if this master key is made.

  5. It’s always worth looking at history.

    A very relevant comparison could be drawn between the German Enigma encryption machines used in WW2 and the encryption currently used by Apple and others.

    The way that Enigma machines encrypted messages was such that there were about 158,962,555,217,826,360,000 different settings possible. It simply wouldn’t be realistic to crack a complex code like that by brute force and it’s easy to understand why the German military regarded it as a completely unbreakable code.

    However tremendous resources and a great deal of ingenuity were devoted to breaking the code and at Bletchley Park in England, Alan Turing and his team developed techniques for breaking the code. Initially they used mechanical devices, but they were far too slow and in order to get the maximum possible speed, by 1943 they had developed the world’s first ever computer. It was called Colossus and used 1600 vacuum tubes in the MkI version or 2400 in the MkII version. This enabled them to rapidly break the codes that they were intercepting.

    The thing to bear in mind is that there was never going to be any possibility of asking the Germans if they would kindly put a back door into their Enigma machines, so it was down to the code breakers to find a way to crack the code without the knowledge or consent of the Germans.

    It was obviously a tremendously difficult task and required many mathematical and technological breakthroughs, together with incredible resources, but they eventually achieved it and changed the course of the war.

    If governments want to crack modern encryption, then it’s up to them to put resources into finding ways of cracking the encryption, rather than forcing manufacturers to weaken the encryption. If they find a way to do it, it’s pretty obvious that it would need the sort of resources that are only available to a technically advanced superpower and such techniques would not be available to criminals.

    If beating encryption were only possible at great expense and with great difficulty, then it would be only be used where it was vital, but not be available for use for lesser investigations. I think that this would be a reasonable compromise and could satisfy the public at large that they will be protected, but not snooped upon

    The FBI are being lazy and demanding that everybody’s data is given to them on plate. The code breakers during WW2 had to achieve what appeared to be impossible. The FBI need to put the effort and resources into doing something comparable.

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