U.S. Senators threaten Apple and Facebook with mandated encryption backdoors

Katie Paul for Reuters:

U.S. senators grilled Apple Inc and Facebook Inc executives over their encryption practices on Tuesday and threatened to regulate the technology unless the companies make encrypted user data accessible to law enforcement.

MacDailyNews Take: Idiots.

Facebook has been wrestling with multiple governments since announcing its plan to extend end-to-end encryption across its messaging services earlier this year. Its WhatsApp messaging app is already encrypted.

In October, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and law enforcement chiefs of the United Kingdom and Australia called on the world’s biggest social network not to proceed with its plan unless law enforcement officials are given backdoor access.

Facebook rejected that call in a letter signed by WhatsApp head Will Cathcart and Messenger head Stan Chudnovsky which it released along with the company’s written testimony.

“The ‘backdoor’ access you are demanding for law enforcement would be a gift to criminals, hackers and repressive regimes,” they wrote. “That is not something we are prepared to do.”

MacDailyNews Take: Ignorant politicians proposing stupid laws. Same as it ever was.

Why don’t these genius politicians next attempt to legislate in purple unicorns? They’re equally as plentiful as secure backdoors.MacDailyNews, October 3, 2018

Again, encryption is binary; it’s either on or off. You cannot have both. You either have privacy via full encryption or you don’t by forcing back doors upon Apple or anybody else. It’s all or nothing. — MacDailyNews, March 8, 2017

There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor’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

• More proof that iPhone backdoors are a stupid idea: Massive cache of law enforcement personnel data leaks – July 2, 2018
• Tim Cook’s refusal to create iPhone backdoor for FBI vindicated by ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack on Windows PCs – May 15, 2017
The Microsoft Tax: Leaked NSA malware hijacks Windows PCs worldwide; Macintosh unaffected – May 13, 2017
• Bungling Microsoft singlehandedly proves that ‘back doors’ are a stupid idea – August 10, 2016


  1. MDN Take: “Why don’t these genius politicians next attempt to legislate in purple unicorns? They’re equally as plentiful as secure backdoors.”

    That’s actually clever! I didn’t expect that in an MDN Take.

    Anyway, yes, if you mandate a backdoor, while you get some access for your evil government cronies, you can also count on others finding and exploiting that backdoor, from Trump’s handlers in Moscow to cyberterrorists.

  2. Secrets and backdoors; reminds me how the government tried to keep the atomic bomb plans under-wraps. That worked out really well.
    Vote your congressman out today, save privacy for tomorrow.

  3. So US politicians are now advocating the same legislation for backdoor access as the Russians have already implemented.
    Is this the result of Russian political interference?

  4. Why is it they are only bipartisan on issues like this? Freedom as we have known it for almost 250 years is coming to end and the rate of destruction is climbing exponentially since 2016. If you vote for the people espousing and proposing this you are just as guilty as they are.

  5. If you vote for the politicians demanding this you are as guilty as they are.

    Freedom as we have known it for almost 250 years is rapidly disappearing in favor of despotic one party rule.

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