President Obama, on cell phone encryption (via ABC News):
“There has to be some concession to the need to be able to get into that information somehow… It’s fetishizing our phones above every other value and that can’t be the right answer. I suspect the answer is going to come down to how do we create a system that the encryption is as strong as possible, the key is as secure as possible, it is accessible by the smallest number of people possible for a subset of issues that we agree are important.”
That’s not going to work.
Once that box is opened, every president is going to find a way to pry it open just a little bit wider. What do you think Dick Cheney would have done with that privilege? Or Richard Nixon? How protective of our privacy do you think President “Bring back waterboarding!” Trump would be, and do you honestly think President Hillary would be any different? She’d be more discreet, certainly, but I have no doubts that she’d be rooting around in our data just as enthusiastically.
It’s either open or it’s closed; there is no in-between.
Of course, the point is probably already moot. Have you noticed the NSA has never once said, “Yes, we need a little help cracking phone encryption, too?”
This could well be just about finding legal cover for what they’re already doing.