Obama on FBI v. Apple


Before smartphones were invented… if there is probable cause to think you abducted a child or are engaging in a terrorist plot, law enforcement can appear at your doorstep [use a] warrant to search your home and rifle through your underwear to see if there’s any evidence of wrongdoing. And we agreed on that because just like all of our other rights, there are going to be some constraints that we impose to ensure that we are safe, secure and living in a civilized society.

I believe this is still possible, post smartphones.

“If it was technologically possible to make an impenetrable device where there’s no door at all, then how do we apprehend the child pornographer? How do we disrupt a terrorist plot? How do we even do a simple thing like tax enforcement?” he posed. “If government can’t get in, then everyone’s walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket. There has to be some concession to get into that information somewhere.”

Is it technically possible to make an impenetrable device? I think Apple will prove it is, and very soon. How do we apprehend bad people? Law enforcement can appear at the person’s doorstep with a search warrant and thoroughly search for evidence of wrongdoing. Even the smartest bad people are not perfect; they leave non-digital crumbs — evidence of wrongdoing — here and there.

This fixation on a smartphone — specifically an iPhone — by POTUS and the Department of Justice, which is part of the Executive Branch, is weird. It is as if all other methods of evidence gathering has been thrown out the window and the only thing that matters is what’s in the iPhone. I think it’s obvious what the DoJ is trying to do: set a legal precedent to force companies to aid investigations in any way the DoJ deems fit.