Thank you, Apple, for iPhone Encryption

ip6-under-the-hoodThough our national security is an absolute imperative, the Edward Snowden revelations about mass NSA surveillance—and what most of us see as a direct violation of our Constitution by them (as well as their practice of passing that data to the DEA, FBI, IRS and local law enforcement)—the intelligence community made their bed…and now they have to lie in it.

From Wired’s article called Apple’s iPhone Encryption Is a Godsend, Even if Cops Hate It:

It took the upheaval of the Edward Snowden revelations to make clear to everyone that we need protection from snooping, governmental and otherwise. Snowden illustrated the capabilities of determined spies, and said what security experts have preached for years: Strong encryption of our data is a basic necessity, not a luxury.

And now Apple, that quintessential mass-market supplier of technology, seems to have gotten the message. With an eye to market demand, the company has taken a bold step to the side of privacy, making strong crypto the default for the wealth of personal information stored on the iPhone. And the backlash has been as swift and fevered as it is wrongheaded.

Though this is clearly the right thing for Apple’s business—especially if they continue to hope to sell in countries like China (see Apple iPhone a danger to China national security)—I still want to say, “Thank you Apple…seriously.


  1. alan geeves on October 9, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I wonder how much NSA have already paid Apple and other secure device makers to include a way to discern the encryption key that hasnt been officially discovered yet.
    Think of that other well known security feature now known as heartbleed. If it was accidental it would of been discovered years earlier

  2. Steve Borsch on October 10, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Alan, I follow this stuff pretty closely and Apple’s approach sure looks secure. We won’t know for awhile and possibly never…that’s the nature of “closed source” code.

    No question the U.S. intelligence community both exploits, and promotes/codes/inserts, backdoors and compromises in software and hardware.

    But the Heartbleed bug was a simple, yet critical, buffer overrun bug in the OpenSSL protocol package. There is much debate over whether or not this bug was intentional or not and that has yet to be resolved.

    Take a look at this really good article on ProPublica about our NSA’s adventures in vacuum surveillance.

    I especially like how one comment, from a guy named Richard Kerr, sums up how I feel about the devastating effects of this cyber blitzkrieg by the U.S. intelligence community:

    The NSA is “winning” the war against cyber security, and the American people are losing. The losses to America are more devastating than it would appear at first. The vast digital library that the NSA has assembled that includes virtually every digital trace of every American and many people throughout the World, has effectively dealt the United States out of one of the most promising businesses of the future, cloud computing. The credibility of America has been permanently trashed, and the last shred of trust that the World has held in the values supported by Americans has been lost. Yes, the NSA and its own selfish agenda has won, the rest of us have lost.

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About Steve Borsch

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.