US Attorney Eileen M. Decker (LA Democrat appointed by Barack Obama) yesterday filed a application to order Apple to overturn the laws of mathematics.
If a Republican did this, of course, we’d never hear the end about how she was an anti-Science™ dummy. But, a Democrat did it…. so crickets.
[Scroll down for the update with a letter from Apple]
Apple has built secure cryptography into its phones, and it’s possible to set up your iPhone such that it will erase itself in the event someone starts guessing wrong passcodes. Without the passcode, you can’t do anything with the phone, including install software.
It turns out the terrorists in San Bernardino used iPhone encryption, and the government does not know if it’s set to wipe the phone in the event they start guessing passcodes. So the Obama administration asked a judge to compel Apple to “bypass or disable the auto-erase function.” This is referred to by Obama’s Justice department as “reasonable.”
Only someone completely ignorant of the math and science involved would make such a claim. iPhones are encrypted using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES was developed by a team of Dutch researchers according to specifications. Originally known as the Rijndael cipher, named for designers Vincent Rijmen and Joan Daemen, it was submitted to the US Government’s National Institute for Standards and Technology during the AES design contest. It won, after passing scrutiny by the government, including by NSA.
In other words, the government has certified that AES is secure, yet the Obama administration is now claiming it’s “reasonable” to demand Apple bypass this encryption to install software to bypass the security around this encryption.
Basically, the Democrats are trying to compel Apple to have a “back door” in iPhones, and to apply such a back door on demand by the government. This, not NSA, is the greatest threat to the privacy of concerned Americans today. If government compels the private sector to cripple any strong encryption offered, then anyone trying to secure his computer will be disappointed later to find it was insecure all along.
But no, Edward Snowden and his anarchist and/or Russian backers are too busy whipping up hysteria about the NSA listening in on unencrypted communications deliberately broadcast on the Internet, to tell the real story.
So never let them tell you that the Democrats or the techno-libertarians are smart about this stuff, because they’re not the ones telling you the real story here.
Update: Apple has responded with a public statement pointing out that the government is demanding a back door be developed and deployed.