President Obama: 'You Cannot Take an Absolutist View' on Encryption Issue

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    United States President Barack Obama today spoke with Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith at South by Southwest (SXSW), where he indirectly addressed Apple's dispute with the FBI. While Obama said he could not comment specifically on the ongoing encryption battle between the two, he spoke on larger issues of privacy and security.

    Obama cautioned against taking an "absolutist" view on encryption and said American citizens already make concessions to balance privacy with security in other aspects of their lives. He used warrants to search homes and possessions, something the public agrees is necessary, as a parallel to accessing data on a smartphone.

    He also pointed towards airport security as an example of a compromise made between security and privacy. "It's not fun going through security," he said, "but we recognize it as important." He went on to say that the notion that data can be "walled off" from those "other tradeoffs we make" is incorrect.
    Obama said that while he wants to make sure the government cannot "willy-nilly" get into everyone's iPhones without oversight and probable cause, there are "constraints we impose" to make sure we live in a safe and civilized society. He advocated for finding a balance between encryption and privacy and the government's need to investigate crimes.
    Obama went on to call on software engineers and technology companies to help the government solve the problem, and he said a thorough, well-formed encryption solution should be established before it's desperately needed. He cautioned against the tech community disengaging or taking a position that "is not sustainable for the general public as a whole over time," as it could lead to a stalemate that will ultimately lead to "sloppy" legislation should the political climate change after something "really bad happens." Apple, too, has urged for the issue to be solved in Congress instead of the courts.

    The president's comments come as Apple is facing off against the U.S. government in a fierce public battle over the order that would require Apple to help the FBI break into the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook by creating new software to circumvent passcode restrictions on the device. Apple believes complying with the demand would set a dangerous precedent that could lead to the overall weakening of encryption on smartphones and other electronic devices.

    The Department of Justice has dismissed Apple's concerns, calling its fears overblown and insisting the request will not result in a universal "master key." Just yesterday, a government filing accused Apple of "deliberately" raising technological barriers preventing law enforcement from accessing data on Apple devices, something Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell went on to call an "unsupported, unsubstantiated effort to vilify Apple."

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: President Obama: 'You Cannot Take an Absolutist View' on Encryption Issue
  2. aaronvan, Mar 11, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016

    aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    I can see Puget Sound from here
    **** Obama.

    Treasonous scumbag.

    Obama is technologically inept. I'd expect nothing less from a community organizer who still uses a Blackberry and merrily conducts extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens and routinely flies Pentagon drones all over the United States.

    Obama is a totalitarian at heart. Worst president...ever.
  3. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
  4. Crosscreek macrumors 68020


    Nov 19, 2013
    1 Thanks for your thoughts Big Brother now go take a flying leap.

    2 I did not have sex with that phone.
  5. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
  6. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    No way to not take an absolute view. It's mathematics.
  7. dustinsc macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2009
    Do manufacturers of safes have a way to unlock the safes they manufacture? This is an honest question if anyone happens to have the answer. It seems like a good analog for what's going on here.
  8. chucker23n1, Mar 11, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2016

    chucker23n1 macrumors 6502


    Dec 7, 2014
    No, no we don't. We recognize it as ******** security theater.
  9. fitshaced macrumors 65816


    Jul 2, 2011
    'If the government can't get in, then everyone is walking around with a Swiss bank account'

    That is truly irresponsible. Why can't I have a secure device that protects my information and not be accessible to anyone else on the planet? If we have to accept that the government need access to absolutely everything upon request then we have no privacy whatsoever. You either have privacy or you don't.

    1984 is fast approaching.
  10. teslo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 9, 2014
    obama has been a great president facing hard odds and harder decisions throughout his presidency. certainly not without his major flaws -- and this right here is particularly high on that list.
  11. tmanto02 macrumors 65816


    Jun 5, 2011
  12. Mac Fly (film), Mar 11, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016

    Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

    Feb 12, 2006
    Yeah Obama, and there'll be cameras in those meeting you'll have with 'BIG OIL' and they'll be streamed live like you promised. And you'll end all those wars and bring all those troops home. And there'll be transparency, you know the kind that Snowden gave you and you'll celebrate it. One big disappointment your whole presidency has been. Just because you're not Bush doesn't mean you were a good president. You drone-killing Wall St. puppet. Your good looks, friendly smile and overconfidence don't hide that you're a man without integrity or character.
  13. nylon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2004
    I thought the whole point of encryption was that it is meant to be absolutist in its nature.
  14. Piggie macrumors 604


    Feb 23, 2010
    Well all know this is doomed to fail long term
    No way is any government going to let just anyone have total and utter secrecy forever.
    It's just not a realistic scenario in the REAL world.
    In a theoretical world yes great.
  15. ProjectManager101 macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2015
    Ok... 17,000 people die a year by gunshots in the U.S. That is like 45 a day. Deaths by Muslims are 16 this time.

    I mean... in the U.S. you will die by a gunshot from a jewish, catholic, christian, baptist or any other religion before being murdered by a muslim. I am not scared of muslims but some how is where the spotlight is on, if you move the light you will see greater dangers... and iPhones has nothing to do with them.
  16. teslo macrumors 6502a


    Jun 9, 2014
    everyone has a swiss bank account - in their minds. i'm sure the DHS is repulsed by this notion.
  17. diddl14 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 10, 2009
    Maybe they can give the secret codes to launch all nukes to Apple so these can be used to open up the backdoor.

    That would at least provide some incentive to make sure only a few people gain access..
  18. RadioGaGa1984 macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2015
    President Obama: 'You Cannot Take an Absolutist View' on Encryption Issue
    Of course you can.
  19. soupcan macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2014
    You know a country is doomed when even its president doesn't know what exactly is going on.
  20. freepomme macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2015
    Boston, MA
    You know he's right. That's why you couldn't really say anything. :)
  21. temna macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2008
    I love how he mentions the airport security thing, because there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that airport security has protected us from anything.
  22. Doomtomb macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2011
    You can skip to 41:15 for the start of this thing
  23. Roadstar, Mar 11, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016

    Roadstar macrumors 6502


    Sep 24, 2006
    Vantaa, Finland
    Strong encryption is a surprisingly binary thing. You either have it or you don't. Regardless of how much governments and different agencies dream of such a thing, there's no encryption with a backdoor that's available only for the good guys. I want to keep the bad guys from accessing my data, and as the only way to truly achieve that involves keeping also the good guys from accessing my data, it's a price worth paying even though it makes the job harder for many (at least allegedly) good guys.
  24. RadioGaGa1984 macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2015
    Oh he knows exactly whats going on, this is something he and his ilk would love to see happen.

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