Pensacola: What President Trump tweeted about Apple

He did Apple a big favor on China trade, and now ("NOW!") he wants something in return.

My take: You don't have to be as computer-ignorant as Donald Trump to think that Apple has a key that would do the trick. Barack Obama knew better, but he still wanted a backdoor. Here's what he told the tech crowd at SXSW four years ago, before the San Bernardino shooter's password had been cracked:

If technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key, there’s no door at all, then how do we apprehend the child pornographer, how do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot?

What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement because if in fact you can’t crack that at all, government can’t get in, then everybody is walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket.

See also:

UPDATE, from the NYTimes:

Some of the frustration within Apple over the Justice Department is rooted in how police have previously exploited software flaws to break into iPhones. The Pensacola gunman’s phones were an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 7 Plus, according to a person familiar with the investigation who declined to be named because the detail was confidential.

Those phones, released in 2012 and 2016, lack Apple’s most sophisticated encryption. The iPhone 5 is even older than the device in the San Bernardino ca se, which was an iPhone 5C.

Security researchers and a former senior Apple executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity said tools from at least two companies, Cellebrite and Grayshift, have long been able to bypass the encryption on those iPhone models.


  1. David Emery said:
    It seems to me that the Administration just cannot believe that Apple has no ‘magic key’ to unlock an iPhone.

    Of course, that’s not unique to this administration. James Comey had a similar attitude.

    January 15, 2020
    • John Konopka said:
      They are just want to bully Apple into bending to their will.

      January 15, 2020
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    As an individual with four decades of government service at multiple levels ending with associations with SESers, Assistant Secretaries and staffers to Cabinet officers I feel that I can say definitively that no information is sacred from abuse or exploitation within the bureaucratic system. Even presidents in the Oval Office over periods cannot control leaks and abuse of some of the most privileged security conversations; and to believe that such immunity granted, if obtained from Apple, would not be abused or exploited and shared with other international security agencies is myopic and simply naive.

    January 15, 2020
    • Gianfranco Pedron said:
      As an individual without any government service I can say all it all using two words “… well … duuuh!”

      January 15, 2020

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