Security firm CEO: Apple vs. government overreach issue will drag on for years

“Apple versus the FBI was just the beginning: The debate between privacy and cybersecurity will drag on for years as the government vies with powerful corporations while new forms of hacking attacks arise, according to David DeWalt, chief executive officer of FireEye Inc.,” Nafeesa Syeed reports for Bloomberg. “‘We now have corporations, for the first time in history, as powerful as the United States,’ DeWalt said in an interview in Washington. ‘The Apples, the Googles and the Microsofts of the world have become so big, so powerful, that their cash reserves, their lobbying capability is as great — if not greater — than the biggest government in the world.'”

“FireEye, based in Milpitas, California, provides malware and network-threat protection systems for 4,400 customers in 67 countries,” Syeed reports. “The CEO called any government effort to force disclosure of a product’s vulnerabilities that create loopholes or backdoors a ‘big mistake.'”

Syeed reports, “When companies are asked for help by law enforcement agencies, they ‘don’t have to publish a backdoor to the government or hackers to use,’ DeWalt said. ‘Do it yourself in your own lab. You design the software, you know how it works and ultimately you can provide that information.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wrong. It won’t stay in the “lab.” Employees are people. They leave. They steal code. They sell code. Or they just leave knowing the concepts used. Concepts that can be applied outside the “lab.” David DeWalt is painfully naive. As CEO for a security firm, he should know better.

He is right about one thing, though: This will drag on for years.

Encryption is either on or off. This is a binary issue. There is no in-between. There are no safe “labs.” You either have encryption or you do not.

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


    1. Using diacritical marks to defeat Bayesian filters. I hadn’t thought of that. Better than the ol’ file system consistency check we’ve been using. One if by land, two if by sea.

  1. And no, the FBI was NOT asking to let Apple do it in their own lab, as he says. The FBI was asking to get everything — not just the phone data, but also the code, software and signature to run it.

    1. Not only do you have that issue, but if the Government wants to directly use the data gathered as admissible evidence (as distinct from using it to obtain other evidence that might be admissible), the defense has to be permitted to cross-examine the code-cracker on how the decoding was done and why it should be regarded as reliable. The FBI might be able to claim national security in the San Bernardino case, but most of the iPhones that federal and state prosecutors want to crack are evidence in ordinary criminal cases. Add that to the obvious difficulty that any large organization has in keeping secrets these days (see Snowden, Assange, Panama Papers, etc.), and the chance of the cracking method remaining secret declines to about zero percent.

  2. Wow a touch of insight today with something interesting and insightful, a rare treat:

    “We now have corporations, for the first time in history, as powerful as the United States,” DeWalt said in an interview in Washington. “The Apples, the Googles and the Microsofts of the world have become so big, so powerful, that their cash reserves, their lobbying capability is as great — if not greater — than the biggest government in the world.”

    That’s a quantity statement, now the jouranalist did not go sniffing around too much for a qualitative statement going to status quo of lobbying, which goes to government, which of course is on the borderline of corruption.

    There is however, the possibility that this new scale of corporate grandeur changes the quality of government, which itself archaic, and ineffective against the new changing global demographics. This change may eventually lead to the replacement of government as we now know it.

    It’s not unexpected, government’s attitudes around the world have changed with the changing parameters of their citizens, for example changes resulting from urbanization where the common sense of the once ruling rural folks is swept by the way side making way for the slick city dazzling lights approach.

    We are now seeing the emergence of what could be viewed as a super-citizen, so big, so powerful, with more cash reserves than the government that they could buy, or build their own entity, or country if you wish.

    Of course it goes to follow that a confrontation between this emerging super-citizen and the government is likely, and in some cases war, especially for any governments with a fetish for war, and of course the citizens of the free and civilized world know who I’m talking about so there is really no need to mention their 80% of their history at war, their primitive de-evolution into a state of torture, we know it’s in their DNA (Destructive Nuclear Arsenal).

    What is worth mentioning is the quality that makes winners, greatness and the new emerging global way. It’s the same spice that has been around for a while, ethics and morality, something that has long been drained by many a government but can now sprout up again in this new emerging super-citizen.

    I find it interesting to see some people using a “Tim Cook for president” mantra. I don’t see anyone here using a government official to run Apple. I think most of us would shudder at the thought. No doubt some, if not the majority of super-citizens will be lured to the bright light decadence of government, heck one might even end up trying to run the government.

    I believe that the new ground for the humane territory however, lies elsewhere, where a corporate entity and identity is created by the people and for the people. I know it’s a challenging concept, science fiction even, but there might be one or two super-citizens that will display and nourish those humane traits, cause right now the governments are failing miserably.

      1. I’m with you on that one. It’s a good thing that I indicated that some of the super citizens will be lured to the government, if they aren’t already. In the case of Google I think it’s mission accomplished.

        I hope you are doing well these days herself. Keep those wonderful posts coming.

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