Tech companies join Apple to fight back against government overreach, prep to expand encryption of user data

“Silicon Valley’s leading companies – including Facebook, Google and Snapchat – are working on their own increased privacy technology as Apple fights the US government over encryption, The Guardian has learned,” Danny Yadron reports for The Guardian.

“The projects could antagonize authorities just as much as Apple’s more secure iPhones, which are currently at the center of the San Bernardino shooting investigation,” Yadron reports. “They also indicate the industry may be willing to back up their public support for Apple with concrete action.”

MacDailyNews Take: Aww, authorities might be antagonized. TFB.

“Polling has shown public opinion is divided over the case. And any new encyrption efforts by tech firms put them on a collision course with Washington,” Yadron reports. “Barack Obama has also made it clear he thinks some technology companies are going too far. ‘If government can’t get in, then everyone’s walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket, right?’ he said 11 March at the SXSW technology conference in Austin, Texas.”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s next advertising campaign should be “iPhone. It’s a Swiss bank account in your pocket.” Buy up every second of commercial time on network TV in Washington D.C. and run it solid, back-to-back-to-back.

“WhatsApp has been rolling out strong encryption to portions of its users since 2014, making it increasingly difficult for authorities to tap the service’s messages. The issue is personal for founder Jan Koum, who was born in Soviet-era Ukraine,” Yadron reports. “When Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in February that his company would fight the government in court, Koum posted on his Facebook account: ‘Our freedom and our liberty are at stake.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Those who’ve been oppressed understand. It’s the dumbed down products of U.S. public schools who clamor for the government to trample their rights (and the rights of the rest of us who get it) that need a wakeup call.

“WhatsApp already offers Android and iPhone users encrypted messaging. In the coming weeks, it plans to offer users encrypted voice calls and encrypted group messages, two people familiar with the matter said. That would make WhatsApp, which is free to download, very difficult for authorities to tap,” Yadron reports. “The efforts come at a crossroads for Silicon Valley. Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter have all signed on to legal briefs supporting Apple in its court case.”

“One of the challenges for the search giant is that there are some types of data for which it remains challenging to offer end-to-end security, both for usability and business model reasons,” Yadron reports. “Google sells targeted ads by scanning users’ email, a process that gets tricky if the contents remain encrypted.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You want to stay away from Google’s “free” products and services if you value your privacy and security.

Google’s Eric Schmidt is joining the Pentagon’s new ‘innovation board’ – March 7, 2016
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Why I switched from Google to DuckDuckGo – July 4, 2015
Eric Schmidt-backed startup stealthily working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House – October 9, 2015
Did Google’s Eric Schmidt just call Apple’s Tim Cook a liar? – June 19, 2015
Google averages one White House meeting per week during Obama administration – March 25, 2015
Eric Schmidt says Google ‘far more secure’ than Apple, denies harvesting data – October 3, 2014
Google’s Eric Schmidt: Drones should be banned from private use – December 6, 2013
Eric Schmidt on Android: ‘It’s more secure than the iPhone’ – October 8, 2013
Obama to reward Google’s Schmidt with Cabinet post? – December 5, 2012
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
37 states join probe into Google’s questionable Wi-Fi data collection – July 22, 2010
Google Street View Wi-Fi data included passwords and email – June 18, 2010


  1. I don’t think that the DOJ understand the box they’re playing in…or at least it’s not clear to them.

    The tech industry essentially controls EVERYTHING you do. They create the hardware & software of every single thing that you need to do your job.

    Satellite interface

    ….whatever your job is…the tech industry is involved
    …on every level


  2. I love this quote from the current president of that country: ” “If government can’t get in, then everyone’s walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket, right?”

    Absolutely right, give that man a cigar. It’s great walking around with a Swiss bank account in one’s pocket that the bullies can’t access. Look at the bright side, I don’t think Swiss banks needed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

      1. Yup fits into my definition of a bully, someone who can dish it out but can’t take it. I’m sure a lot of us are familiar with:

        – can’t be revealed for security reasons.

        Now people have iPhones that can’t be revealed for privacy reasons and oh how the bullies are whining over that.

  3. My wife was born in East Germany and only escaped to the West after the Berlin Wall came down. She remembers all too well what it was like living in a state where the population were constantly spied upon.

    She believed that those days were over and that no state would ever again spy on it’s population so aggressively. Even the Stasi didn’t do the sort of things that the FBI are now trying to do.

    Land of the free? Not for much longer.

  4. Why is there a demand for strong encryption? It isn’t because most (or even very many) people have something to hide from the police. It is because we have all read the stories about hackers stealing personal details from commercial databases used in e-commerce. Many of us have personally experienced the consequences. I had to replace my bank card three times in one year because I used it on sites that were hacked.

    To all intents and purposes, none of these criminals were ever caught or punished. They stole at least many millions of dollars, and probably many billions, and walked away scotfree. Prosecution has been a completely ineffective deterrent, as has law enforcement more generally, so the potential victims had no choice but to protect themselves.

    Consumers demanded strong encryption to defend themselves from the hackers, and companies like Apple and the rest sought to accommodate them. That unfortunately empowered some criminals (notably pornographers and conspirators) even as it deterred many more. I think that most of us who understand the issue think that the inevitable tradeoff was costly, but a net positive for public safety.

    If the consumers could be educated to the fact that strong encryption with a back door is a contradiction in terms, and that weak encryption will put their personal and financial security at risk, they will support Apple and the rest of the industry. They are currently hearing people (who may or may not know better) telling the public that it is not just desirable, but reasonably easy, to devise encryption that will always allow access under a lawful warrant and never otherwise.

    We need to get the truth out there.

  5. Am I the only one who finds it troubling the way Obama states so matter-of-factly “then everyone’s walking around with a Swiss bank account” as if it’s something bad, as if he is entitled to know exactly how much we have in our accounts?

    1. No, Obama didn’t really say that — did he? He doesn’t want to actually have access to all iPhones, does he? Say it ain’t so!

      Where are Tflint, breeze, wade, and kaplanmike to post again how it’s the Republicans and Trump who are solely responsible for this situation?

    2. I know, as if the desire for any level of privacy therefore connotes wrongdoing.

      This is what happens when a government answers to no one. The US government tramples over the planet willy nilly caring not a whit about the consequences. There are ‘exceptional’, after all.

    3. Chefpastry, Obama’s comments are beyond troubling. They show a complete disregard for the concept that government is created by the people to serve the people.

      In POTUS’s view, the people serve the government. That is called tyranny and it is what our founding fathers fought against.

  6. The significant sentence here:

    Silicon Valley’s leading companies… are working on their own increased privacy technology

    IOW: FBI Director James Comey has ended up committing the sin of The Streisand Effect. By complaining about the encryption dilemma, he is drawing attention to it and making his situation dramatically WORSE. If only he had kept his mouth shut and honored the constitutional wishes of We The People. Now encryption is a major topic of concern among US citizens rather than just another obscure technology they don’t understand.

    Boot out FBI Director James Comey please! Respect the US Constitution or get out of government.

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