Turing Award winners advocate for encryption; back Apple vs. U.S. government overreach

“This year’s $1 million A.M. Turing Award goes to a pair of cryptographers whose ideas helped make Internet commerce possible, and who now argue that giving governments a ‘back door’ into encrypted communications puts everyone at risk,” Bree Fowler reports for The Associated Press. “Whitfield Diffie, a former chief security officer of Sun Microsystems, and Martin Hellman, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford University, introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures back in 1976. The concepts are still used today to secure all kinds of communications and financial transactions.”

“Hellman told The Associated Press that he’s sympathetic to the plight of FBI Director James Comey and those investigating the December attack in San Bernardino, California, where an Islamic extremist couple killed 14 people before dying in a gun battle with police,” Fowler reports. “But Hellman said giving the FBI what it wants would unleash ‘huge’ consequences that could not be contained. ‘The problem isn’t so much with this first request, it’s the precedent that it would set and the avalanche of requests that would follow,’ Hellman says, adding that many would likely come from less democratic governments such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.”

“Hellman says he will sign onto one of the many ‘Friend of the Court’ briefs backing Apple in the case,” Fowler reports. “Diffie also has advocated against giving “back doors” to law enforcement, co-authoring a paper with other prominent cryptographers last year that urged the U.S. government to carefully consider the risks.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hey, Comey: You have access to the U.S. Constitution and you’ve got Messrs. Diffie and Hellman, now all you need to do is follow this sage advice:

A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people. — Will Rogers

If that’s too difficult for you:

I told you not to be stupid, you moron. — Ben Stern

SEE ALSO:
Mark Cuban: Why Apple must win vs. the FBI; in the United States of America, we have rights – March 1, 2016
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch plays disinformation card in iPhone unlocking fight – March 1, 2016
The FBI’s case against Apple got kneecapped in Brooklyn: The judges rebuke couldn’t have been stronger – March 1, 2016
U.S. Magistrate Judge: The U.S. government cannot force Apple to unlock an iPhone in New York drug case – February 29, 2016
Verizon CEO McAdam supports strong encryption; Apple vs. FBI should be addressed by U.S. Congress – March 1, 2016
House Judiciary Committee members consider legal brief in support of Apple vs. U.S. government – March 1, 2016
Apple will tell Congress that strong encryption protects against terrorists – March 1, 2016
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa on Apple vs. FBI: Very scary when your government wants to know more about you – February 24, 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

5 Comments

    1. Every single Presidential candidate agrees with him.

      There is some memo these people get or something.

      This created a great deal of anger, but I’m going to bring it up again. There is a correlation between this and the anti-gun lobby.

      This is a battle for rights.

      There is one group of people, largely the government, saying that “We don’t think you should have that technology. We have decided it is too dangerous.”

      Mark my words. When Apple introduces the iPhone that it is impossible to crack, they will seek to outlaw devices that cannot be cracked as well as strong encryption in the hands of the public. They will outlaw it and claim that strong encryption is a weapon that is too dangerous to be in the hands of the public.

      1. Meanwhile, back at the MDN website, I clicked on “Ten things you thought were illegal, but aren’t.” Owning flamethrowers and military tanks were two of them. You could incinerate a lot of children that way, and break into bank vaults with ease. Where’s the outrage there?

  1. Steven Levy told the story of Diffle and Hellman in his 2001 book “Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government Saving Privacy in the Digital Age“. My emphasis.

    The guys are probably experiencing a déjà vu moment.

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