Obama on FBI v. Apple, encryption: ‘We can’t fetishize our phones above other values’

“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.”

The President compares having access to encrypted phones to the government’s ability to obtain information from our private property through court issued warrants.

The problem with this analogy is that it fails to address the concerns being raised by Apple and other security & privacy experts in tech.

Using the same analogy, providing encryption access to law enforcement would be as if by giving the government the power to issue warrants to search private property, you had to also unlock the doors to every American’s home, took detailed record of everything in every home, and put up a copy on a blog for anyone to find it using a simple Google search.

There is no technical way for a second party to obtain access to an encrypted phone without giving a third party access to everyone else’s personal information. That single concept is what seems most foreign and most difficult to understand for our government officials.

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