Verizon CEO McAdam supports strong encryption; Apple vs. FBI should be addressed by U.S. Congress

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has posted the following statement on his LinkedIn page:

Take out your smartphone – if you’re like most people, it’s never more than a few feet away – and tell me what you see. A phone, yes. But also a bank. A credit card. A filing cabinet holding medical records, tax returns, personal correspondence, social security numbers. Maybe a home security system or keys to your house. Apps that reflect what you watch, what you read, who you talk to, what you think.

All of that, in a miraculous device you carry in your pocket or your bag, 24×7.

Now let’s widen that lens.

I just returned from the Mobile World Congress, held this past week in Barcelona. It’s the annual gathering of the world’s mobile telecom industry. This year’s theme was “Everything is Mobile” – and when you walk the floor, you see how that’s the perfect statement about the future of society. Not only will that smartphone you’re holding be your access to the world, mobile devices will be tools for performing remote surgery, learning from professors halfway around the world, controlling autonomous cars, maintaining jet engines while they’re in flight, controlling the power and water grids … the list goes on and on. Securing your personal information and the safety of these critical infrastructure elements will be paramount to the successful integration and operation of our society. Indiscriminate access to any of those systems could wreak havoc on our society and put millions of lives at risk.

That’s why any decisions made about access to those systems need to be considered carefully. Should one government be given access to your personal information or the operations of connected infrastructure? If we say “yes” to one government, how about others? If governments have access, how can we be confident that those with bad intentions can’t use those same systems to gain access through hacking? And just because a company happens to be headquartered in the U.S., should it be subject to different rules when the communications infrastructure is global in nature?

All these questions and more deserve careful consideration in order to keep us safe, which is why all of us have a stake in the outcome of the current dispute between Apple and the FBI. Without taking sides on the Apple case specifically, let me be clear where Verizon stands on the issue of privacy.

We are committed to protecting customer privacy. One of the tools for doing that is encryption. We support the availability of strong encryption with no “back doors” that would enable government access to private information, which we believe would degrade security and privacy for millions of users.

Having said that, we believe the Apple case presents unique policy issues that, in our view, should be addressed by the U.S. Congress. In particular, there may be legitimate reasons for preventing the destruction of data, such as the investigation of terrorism and serious crimes. These conditions must be strictly defined by law, not arrived at haphazardly on an ad hoc or case-by-case basis, as in the Apple case. However, we oppose any solution that would place direct technical access in the hands of law enforcement; rather, it’s vital that such tools remain in the hands of the provider, not government authorities.

As I said, questions about privacy and security in a mobile world go far beyond any one case, and having one judge in one region of the U.S. set this precedent could result in unintended consequences. We should all demand that our elected representatives all the way to the top become involved in debating and coming to a conclusion around these issues.

That’s what leadership entails. Then it will be up to all of us to comply with the processes laid out and the intentions of the law, no matter what part of the Internet ecosystem we belong to.

Billions of customers around the world have opted for the unprecedented convenience and control that having a smartphone gives them, and with the growth of the Internet of Things we’re about to see connectivity permeate our lives even more deeply. In return for living more and more of their lives online, users demand that the private information they keep on these powerful devices remain just that – private. This is a delicate balancing act. But I believe that, as a nation, we can balance that sacred trust with the equally compelling need to keep our society secure in dangerous times.

Via Lowell McAdam’s LinkedIn page.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, Congress, not the courts — legislation, not judicial decrees — should decide this issue.

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

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


    1. Right. I don’t like the whole “pass this off to Congress” attitude. We already have law that governs this: the Constitution. Any law banning the use of MATH would be unconstitutional (for those who don’t get it, banning encryption is banning math).
      Under the Hobby Lobby decision, Congress likewise cannot pass a law that compels a company to engage in speech it disagrees with. I think Hobby Lobby was wrongly decided for certain reasons, but for now it is the law of the land.

      So, I get the strategy of saying “Congress should decide” when you’re trying to dodge a court order, but this isn’t a legislative debate: banning encryption would require a Constitutional amendment or a constitutional convention. Not gonna happen.

      1. Sorry for double posting, I answered you somewhere else:

        Good points, especially the bannng encrytion= banning math.
        In addition to the compelling of unwillful speech…

  1. opps he’s using too many words with more than one syllable , that’s gonna strain the intellect of the world’s politicians …

    (from all the Apple hate the politicians have been spewing recently it shows their total incomprehension of the issues at stake or anything about the modern tech world).

    joking aside I hope the lawmakers hear this loud and clear.

    hacker tools will lead to backdoors will lead to exploits by criminals and severely damage the modern economy and society.

    1. Problem with congress, this specific committee especially, is inbreds like trey goudy who are just so rabid and ignorant that in his hands, we could lose our right to privacy. Would you take a chance with the supreme court? I think I might…

  2. It does pose the question that if all our data is on our phones and our phones sync with our computers, are our computers as secure as our phones? Not a lot of good if they can just plug in a hard drive, hack a password and sync over all our data.

  3. here’s how the Congress thing will go.

    right wing congress votes for more spying by government. Weak executive branch caves in to public opinion.

    You lose.

  4. Everyone who wants a free America should read and consider Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam’s statement on phone security and privacy.

    Orwells 1984 is not some science fiction improbable situation that can’t happen in American. 1984 is as close as Donald Trump getting the Republican nomination! Trump is a fascist narcissistic who is forever expressing his distain for the free press, singling out individuals and expressing his displeasure with them, calls for a registry of a particular group of people, degrades woman, loves using hate speech, playing on people fears and tapping-into/stiring-up their frustration and anger, says he’ll boycott Apple and make them cooperate, keeps a book of Benito Mussolini quotes by his bed, plays dumb and makes out he doesn’t know who David Duke and the KKK are. The world has not seen such a blatant narcissistic fascist since Musolini and so many dumb Americans are just lapping it up. And he even looks just like Mussolini as he struts about with his nose in the air. Look and compare (Google Trump-Mussolini > images) the shape of his head, the shape of his mouth as he speaks, as it pouts, his oratory emotion, phrasing and pauses, the cheering of the spectators, the way his body jiggles when he gets flusted, his ability to incite/excite/entertain a crowd. This is the most startling physical evidence of reincarnation—same actor, different body, different country, different time. Same narcissitic arrogance and aggression, same ability to memerize the masses, same ability to stir up people’s emotions, same fascist hatred and intolerance for certain minorities and the free press. Mussolini was executed in 1945. His body was stoned, beaten and spat upon by angry Italians and hung upside down on meat hooks in the market place. Little Donald was born in New York City, America, the following year,1946. All just a coincidences? I don’t think so.

    Look at how jacked up the hosts of MSNBC’s ’The Place for Politics’ become when it comes time for the latest news on Trump—they love it. He’s commanding some 80% of the political TV news. He’s has millions of Americans mesmerized on TV every day. They think he’s cute, fun entertainment, a reality star, and he’s also going to somehow make America great again. And he’s way ahead in the polls! Who is to say he won’t turn really nasty once he wins the Republican nomination and then becomes president—especially to certain minorities and certain religious groups? It’s all happened before. Mussolini ruled as a democracy for two years before he declared a dictorship. Looks like Trump will get the cooperation of the FBI. The Republican Party has been hijacked by a raging closet fascist of the worst kind. Wakeup America before it’s too late! Trust Tim Cook and Apple with your freedom and safety—not Donald Trump, Bill Gates, and the FBI.

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