Tim Cook's Message to the White House: Get Behind Real Encryption With No 'Backdoors'

The Apple CEO has become an outspoken defender of privacy rights.


Apple CEO Tim Cook |||

At a meeting of tech leaders organized by the White House last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook called on the Obama administration to come out in support of real encryption with no loopholes. As The Intercept reports,

The White House should come out and say "no backdoors," Cook said. That would mean overruling repeated requests from FBI Director James Comey and other administration officials that tech companies build some sort of special access for law enforcement into otherwise unbreakable encryption. Technologists agree that any such measure could be exploited by others.

But Attorney General Loretta Lynch responded to Cook by speaking of the "balance" necessary between privacy and national security — a balance that continues to be debated within the administration.

Cook has become an outspoken defender of privacy rights, making a case that the feds shouldn't interfere with encryption on CBS' 60 Minutes in December. "There have been people that suggest that we should have a backdoor," he told interviewer Charlie Rose. "But the reality is if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor's for everybody, for good guys and bad guys."

Related: Check out Reason TV's instructional video, "How to Chat Anonymously Online

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  1. Hilarious. Apple, which harvests every quark of data from your Apple devices, worried about your privacy.

    1. True, but there is a very simple way to opt out of Apple’s data harvest. The Fedgov, not so much.

      1. I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s an easy way to opt out of data harvesting by certain companies. I don’t know about Apple (and I’m not sure anybody knows all about Apple’s data harvesting) but didn’t Facebook once have a policy of accessing non-Facebook files – like e-mail address books and such – on user’s devices and using that information to harvest data on all their contacts, i. e. people who weren’t actually even Facebook users? If you use your Apple phone to call me on my non-Apple phone, how much data is Apple gathering on me? They at least might know my phone number and, if I’m in your contact list, perhaps my relationship to you, (am I Uncle Jerry or Weed Man?) when and how often and how long you talk to me, my geographic location…..all sorts of stuff. And they can of course cross-reference that data with any other data that any other Apple phone user gives them when they call me. How do I opt out of everybody else giving Apple my data?

        1. If the shack where you are writing your manifesto has cell service, yer doin’ it wrong.


    2. Well, backdoor-less encryption works on Apple too.

    3. Except Apple can’t act on that information by sending men with guns to your door. And is probably more competent at guarding it.

      1. This is the key point neglected by many privacy advocates. Companies want your information so they can sell you stuff. The gummint wants information so that they can put you in a cage.




    3. No posts since mid-2014 on the rapesquatch blog. Is STEVE SMITH dead or roaming the wilderness in search of, er, back doors?



  3. It doesn’t surprise me that companies care more about their customers than the government does about voters, and I guess this is a case in point.

  4. There would have been a time when government having “backdoors” into your personal information would have created a mass public outcry. Any politician who would suggest such a thing would have been run out of office 8f not tarred and feathered. Or maybe I just used to be really naive about the publics protection of their privacy. Regardless, this is a serious security/confidence issue.

    1. I think that the only difference is that 50 years ago the argument against full encryption would be that it would allow homosexual Communist agitators to arrange meetings with their KGB handlers.

      1. And now the “homosexual Communist agitators ” are running the show.

    2. Google “Clipper Chip” ya whipper-snapper. And get off my lawn.

      No, there was just enough of a public outcry to (just barely) stop the feds (or at least make them hide what they were doing, I have no doubt they could have said they weren’t going to do what they then went right ahead and did) but nobody lost their job or took any sort of a hit for trying to jam backdoors down our throats.

    3. There would have been a time when government having “backdoors” into your personal information would have created a mass public outcry.

      Maybe. But if you look at surveillance at least from WWI onward, the public has shown a remarkable willingness to accept the “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear” argument.

      1. True. Just look at the ubiquitous piss test. You want my what?

        1. I can’t imagine what my grandfather (born 1900) would have done if his boss insisted that he had to piss in bottle for a random drug test, but I am certain that he would not have complied.

          Decades of government school indoctrination and mass media propaganda have demonstrated their effectiveness.

      2. ‘Maybe. But if you look at surveillance at least from WWI onward, the public has shown a remarkable willingness to accept the “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear” argument.’

        Which may’ve some merit f it weren’t for that people are regularly beaten and imprisoned for things that don’t fall into the category of “anything wrong”.

        1. This is the significant nearsightedness of those who believe gummint is a benign entity.

  5. …a balance that continues to be debated within the administration.

    Uh-huh. Their privacy. That’s why suddenly the whistleblower support talk from Obama’s website disappeared once he took office.

    1. We have a desire to kick you in the nuts, you have a desire to not be kicked in the nuts. It’s a complicated balancing act, but surely you see that in a negotiation both sides must be willing to compromise. You’re not one of those obstructionists unwilling to compromise on this issue, are you?

      1. The State’s interests in non-lubricated forced entry into “backdoors” is rationally related to its need to protect Americans from the “ideology of Terror,” just you watch.

        This is for your own good! Stop squirming.

        1. I feel Terrorized alright. By the people who claim to want to protect me from terrorist. How fucked up is that. This IS Bizzaro world.

      2. Really, a compromise just jumps out at you when it comes to balanced nut-kicking.

        We’ll kick only in your left testicle. Your right testicle, not so much.

        See? Compromise.

        1. Until they decide they really want to kick your right nut. Then the compromise is they’l kick you full force in the left nut and only kick you a bit in the right. And then they decide they really want to kick you full force in the right nut and…

          1. “Enemy of the State” is on AMC now – so real, so prescient. Like a documentary. Everyone should see it.

  6. So what would be a good Windows equivalent to Adium?

    1. Looks like Adiums website has recommendations for Windows and,Linux users.

    2. Nah, do this.

      1. So all my chatting should be done by whispering during sex or by singing imcomprehensibly.

        1. Is there a better way to woo a woman?

          1. Not that I’m aware of. The young kids say you should insult them.

            1. “Haul ’em, ball ’em, and don’t call ’em. Girls are objects.”

              1. I love women and just prefer to be nice to them.

                1. “I love women and just prefer to be nice to them.”

                  I find this works very well. Maybe too well. If you really like women just be yourself and you will end up wearing out your zipper.

                  1. What about sweating profusely and stammering? Any chances there?

                    1. Just do it confidently:)

            2. My personal rule was 2 insults, 1 compliment. And I’m not kidding. Of course, after marriage that proportion reverses.

    3. Pidgin is what I reccomend to people.

  7. If anybody is still concerned about balancing national security and privacy they should be forced to jerk off to the most depraved porn they’ve ever seen on the internet in the public square.

    1. [leaves thread]


      Anything else?

      1. Yeah, I forgot a fucking comma. Better call Comey. Besides that, fuck them if they think they have a any moral authority to pop a mic into the conversation of free people.

      2. How many times today does that make that RC?

        1. In public? Or as more of a global total?

          1. Do you have a pie chart?

  8. Why would you get behind anything without a back door, again?

  9. How does the government think it’s going to stop the Chinese, Russians etc. from using the backdoor to get into its own computers? It relies on commercial technology too.

    1. “How does the government think”

      It doesn’t

    2. Because the enemy is the American public.

      They don’t understand the Chinese and the Russians, and they believe that they are technologically backwards. But us, they understand!

    1. We need more compulsory education.

      1. She’s knows more now than when the affair started, doesn’t she?

        1. This is a public school teacher, so chances are she doesn’t.

    2. A family member of the teen told cops after learning about the sexual relationship. The girl confessed during an interview, police said.

      The cynic in me wonders if a civil rights case is coming.

      1. Student was 16, age of consent in LA = 17. So, yeah.

    3. This scourge of predatory female …bi-sexual, polyamorous… 20-something….. southern……. blonde…. teachers…… MUST BE BETTER DOCUMENTED. We should not rush to judge until this scenario has been at least shown to have taken place in actual classrooms…. detention hall would be an acceptable alternative. …. and, of course, 4K video would be compelling… there are possible, trademark infringement issues….. uh, Naughty, other pertinent business issues involved….

  10. I thought Tim Cook liked the back door.


  11. “A new lawsuit filed on behalf of several Atheist plaintiffs argues the phrase “In God We Trust” on U.S. money is unconstitutional, and calls for the government to get rid of it….

    “[Atheist lawyer Michael] Newdow claims “In God We Trust” violates the separation of church and state. One plaintiff says his Atheism is “substantially burdened because he is forced to bear on his person a religious statement that causes him to sense his government legitimizing, promoting and reinforcing negative and injurious attitudes not only against Atheists in general, but against him personally.””

    1. Next we’ll be feeding you to lions.

      1. That’s why I keep myself plump and juicy.

      2. I’ll take the lions and the points.

    2. This is interesting.

      From p. 91 of the complaint:

      “government may not substantially burden any individuals in the…exercise of their religious beliefs…

      “…Defendants have substantially burdened Plaintiffs in the exercise of their Atheistic (and similar) beliefs by requiring them ? as the price to pay for using the nation’s coins and currency bills ? to personally bear a religious message that is the antithesis of what they consider to be religious truth.”

      Yes, according to this atheist lawyer, atheism is a religion.

      1. Atheism is not a religion despite what that asshole says. Good grief, what an insufferable prick he is.

          1. Eddie has some favorite topics, but I’ve never seen him be a prick.

            Oh, the psychic burden, the countless microaggressions, of having to be an atheist who must carry around money with the word “God” on it!

      2. Yes, according to this atheist lawyer, atheism is a religion.

        No, according to the lawyer, atheism is a religious belief, namely the belief that “God” (i.e. Yahweh) doesn’t exist. Many religions share that belief, just like many religious share the complementary belief of “theism”.

        (Your comment suggests that you may suffer from the common Christian delusion that the only two choices for religion are a belief in “God” or materialism, equating the latter with “atheism”. But as far as deities or religious go, Yahweh just sucks.)

    3. Well since the actual currency of the day embodies about every variation of “evil” formulated by the church fathers, any orthodox Xtian should be able to also object.

      Conversely, who the blazes is forced to carry cash?

  12. Skeleton with prosthetic found in Austria

    About 1,500 years ago, there lived a man in Europe without a left foot. Instead, he wore a wooden prosthetic limb.

    Archaeologists digging in southern Austria’s Hemmaberg found the man’s grave in 2013, but only recently revealed details about the prosthetic. The findings will be published in the International Journal of Paleopathology.

    “This represents one of the oldest examples of prosthetic limb replacement associated with the skeleton of its wearer in Europe to date,” the study authors write.

    1. Meh, 1500 years ago isn’t very old. Surely the Egyptians had them

  13. Look, there are two reasons why it would ineffective for the government to mandate methods that would assist them in decrypting data on personal electronic devices.
    1) It is too easy to use systems that escape those methods
    2) It won’t help much to decrypt the data after a bad event. And you don’t have the ability to cover all the maybe cases anyhow.

    But what Tim Cook says is just false. There are cryptographic schemes that let messages be decrypted by two parties, but not the third ‘bad guy’ party. For example, ttps://
    The crucial concept is:
    “The –recipient option is used once for each recipient and takes an extra argument specifying the public key to which the document should be encrypted. The encrypted document can only be decrypted by someone with a private key that complements one of the recipients’ public keys.”

  14. Florida Man just wanted a nice home for his pet

    A presumably shocked Palm Beach County woman found a live blacktip shark swimming in the pool at the Mariner’s Cay condominium in Hypoluxo last week, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

    The Sun Sentinel report, linked to in the story, is behind a paywall/registration wall.

    1. How big? Two-footer? Twelve-footer?

  15. Important if true:

    ISIS is allegedly training kidnapped Yazidi children to be suicide bombers, perhaps encouraging them to kill their parents.

    1. (CAUTION: Wartime atrocity story)

      1. The caution is because such stories are sometimes exaggerated. And sometimes not.

  16. Also important if true:

    Mass graves, missing children: Evidence of brutality in Iraqi town of Sinjar

  17. Cosby sexual assault case in jeopardy after email surfaces showing prosecutor DID promise not to use crucial deposition in ANY criminal charges against the actor

    ‘I cannot believe any state court judge would allow that deposition into evidence. …. Knowing this, unless you can make out a case without that deposition and without anything the deposition led you to, I think Cosby would have an action against the County and maybe even against you personally

    The Cos is going to stay out of the hoosegow.

    1. I don’t know the details, but I have the impression that there may be some politics involved here.

      1. The extraordinary delay in bringing these charges makes me very skeptical that rape-rape actually happened.

        My guess: Cos likes to party hard with his wimmenz. Everybody got drunk and fucked up, and everybody knew its going to end with some bunga bunga. Feels like regret-rape, gold-digging, and SJW thuggery to me, pending credible evidence to the contrary, of course.

        1. If it were one or two cases, maybe, but there are too many. I don’t think a woman who is considering screwing a celebrity, but then gets involuntarily drugged and raped, counts as “regret-rape.” If it were gold-digging, they’d have blackmailed him years ago. Maybe a few now are hoping for a payout, but not three dozen or whatever the count is. While the SJW thugs are on the case, that doesn’t mean they’re wrong in this instance.

          1. I’m not saying it was legal to have sex with drugged-out women, I don’t know what the facts and the law were, I just noticed that this happened *after* Cosby, as it were, left the PC reservation on the topic of race.

    2. The Gov’t reneged on a deal!! quick find the nearest abandoned federal outpost , the rape-deniers are gonna need somewhere to protest.

  18. I guess by now everybody heard that the Park Service apparently lost control of the various place/bldg names in Yosemite to the former operator/concessionaire, which concessionaire lost the bid to continue the operations to a new one, and the matter is now in court.
    So rather than run the risk of paying royalties on the names, the Park Service re-named them, fully aware that the guests will continue to call it the Ahwahnee lodge.
    Well, I NEVER! The nerve of them re-naming something! And (from the headline): “It’s all about the money!”.
    From the article: “It’s very unfortunate, but that’s the way capitalism works,” he said. “It’s all about money.” I’m guessing the government operates on unicorn futures trading?…..762595.php

    1. w/o reading the article…

      …while that’s a stupid reaction – there’s some underlying validity to the gripe about trademark-squatting on what are ‘public assets’

      i.e. its not so much about ‘the money’, or anything inherent in ‘capitalism’… so much as its a feature of the quirks of IP law surrounding what should otherwise be considered public-domain/fair-use ‘brands’.

      the point would be that certain place-names/brands have no actual portable goodwill-value aside from their *traditional* use… and that trademark/IP law should recognize when possession/rights to the place inherently includes rights to its traditional place-names/brands.

      Severing the two should only be a valid issue when the brand/trademark itself has some value in its portability/re-use, or to prevent duplication/confusion if there are multiple places competing with the same place-name/brand. (e.g. see the “Original Rays Pizza” example)

      While it appears the dispute is ostensibly between the 2 concessionaires, i am still pretty sure this stupidity is all the government’s fault.

      1. Although i think it would be funny if they re-named “El Capitan“, “Royale w/ Cheese” or something.

        1. “Although i think it would be funny if they re-named “El Capitan”, “Royale w/ Cheese” or something.”

          I’d go for that, since I’m tired of the lame ‘the spiritual majesty of nature’ bull bleep, especially among those who get half-way up before they slip and ‘die doing something they love!’ Do those guys think smokers don’t love a cigarette?
          Anyhow, I haven’t chased it down yet, but according to one story, the PS made the former concessionaire buy the names some time back.
          It would not surprise me one bit that a gov’t agency tried to pad its budget with a move that came back to bite it in the ass, and then tried to blame those who paid.
          If/when I find it, you can be sure to see it here!

      2. But if the Ahwahnee is no longer run by the same group, then it is no longer the Ahwahnee.

        That seems relevant only if they are going to start up a new Ahwahnee elsewhere.

        If not, then I would be inclined to call it a leasehold improvement, which reverts to the landlord when the lessee departs.

        1. “if the Ahwahnee is no longer run by the same group, then it is no longer the Ahwahnee.”

          The hotel name/brand predated the concessionaires claiming trademark by about 50 years.

          The state claims that IP-control was never part of the concession agreements.

          Delaware North seems to have applied for trademark after having bought out a previous concessionaires’ contract. Basically, they unilaterally assumed control sans any apparent legal-barriers.

          “The company said that it had been required to purchase “the assets of the previous concessionaire, including its intellectual property, at a cost of $115 million in today’s dollars” when it took over operations in 1993, spokeswoman Lisa Cesaro said.

          That intellectual property included the original names, she said asserted

          The National Park Service has said that rights to the names were never part of Delaware North’s original deal, and that the new concessions contract with Aramark makes clear that the names will not be sold this time either….”

          Its possible, as Sevo noted above, that the state created this mess in the first place by forcing the new buyers to pay-extra for IP rights that were intended to be more-limited. regardless, its not a simple as you make out.

  19. It is difficult for me to concentrate on anything now. I keep thinking about the threesome that kid had with the two teachers. Where the hell were they when I was in school? And what the hell is wrong with that kid that he turned them in?

  20. I understand that most everyone here is pro-strong-encryption, with no “backdoors”, and I can appreciate that position.

    However I am thinking about digital property in analogy with real property.

    Right now, the government may lawfully search my real property, provided that the government has a warrant obtained via due process. Should that same due process procedure apply to digital property? If not, why not?

    1. Pretty sure most folks here are concerned with warrantless searches, so yeah, if you (Mr. LEO) have probable cause to believe I’ve done something wrong, take it to the judge and ask for a warrant. And specify what you are going to search and what you’re looking for; no fishing expeditions.

      1. I did repost those model engine links for you.

        1. NUTS! Where? Which thread?

              1. Amazing work, eh?

                1. That 917 is really interesting; I wonder if those turbos ‘turbo’?
                  BTW, these guys show at the Good Guys hot-rod show out in Pleasanton. I’ve never seen the show, but have seen some of the work.
                  Ditto your comment above

                  1. I believe when they say working model, they mean everything, including the turbochargers. It’s a 1/4 scale Porsche engine that works just like the real thing.

                    See also.

      2. I completely agree with that. No warrantless searches or fishing expeditions.

        However, if the digital property has strong ‘unbreakable’ encryption, then LEO is not able to search the property even with probable cause and even with a warrant. I guess the analogy to real property would be that if a suspect had an unassailable fortress. For all intents and purposes, that individual would be beyond the jurisdiction of law enforcement.

        I understand that if you are an anarchist, that sounds very desirable indeed, but if you aren’t an anarchist (like myself) that is a bit troubling because it suggests certain individuals can get away with flouting the law.

        How would a non-anarchist libertarian resolve this apparent dilemma?

        1. If, after being presented with a proper warrant, a person fails to submit to a search their ass gets thrown in jail until they do.

          It isnt a dilemma.

        2. Bits are bits, not my problem to put them in order.

          If I shred documents ( pre- subpoena), its the cops job to piece them back together.

          1. Obviously, shredding/ encrypting post is obstruction.

            1. Okay thank you, I appreciate the discussion.

    2. “Right now, the government may lawfully search my real property, provided that the government has a warrant obtained via due process. Should that same due process procedure apply to digital property? If not, why not?”

      I’m not sure it’s as simple as ‘My data is property, and property can be searched with a warrant–so we’re obligated to make our property convenient for the government to search’, but I’m also not convinced that the government should be free to search all of our property.

      We already make certain exceptions for the benefits of living in a free society. For instance, we don’t let the government use evidence obtained by searching the communications between defendants and their attorneys. It may be that encrypting our data so that the government can’t use it against us also has certain benefits (perhaps qualitative benefits) that outweigh whatever benefit we’d get from giving the government access with a warrant.

      Also, in terms of the government being free to search our property with a warrant simply because it’s property, let’s try a thought experiment.

      What if there were a way that the government could hook a defendant up to a machine to search her brain for memories?

      I think of people’s brains as being their own property. If the technology existed to search someone’s brain, would you support a judge being able to have it searched with a simple warrant?

      1. “What if there were a way that the government could hook a defendant up to a machine to search her brain for memories?”

        OK, pretty obvious 5A problems, and I’d agree pissing in a bottle is equally a 5A problem. But it’s a stretch to claim examining documents you’ve produced in the past will pass that muster.
        If it did, the IRS is gonna be in trouble.

        1. So, why do we have the Fifth Amendment?

          Isn’t it because there are benefits (perhaps qualitative) to respecting that right and living in a free society?

          Again, we’re talking about limiting the government’s ability to do certain things–with or without a warrant–because we prefer to live in a freer society.

          1. I couldn’t agree more, but I’m doubtful you could get the courts to expand 5A to that degree.
            Ken, AFAIC, the ‘bill of rights’ is an unnecessary complication, or (at worst) a decent start. There are limits on what we may do; they have to do with harming others. There are far greater limits on what a government can do IMO.

        2. Depends on whether those documents were produced on the condition of immunity

          1. Thanks, tulpa; your pedantry is always despised!

  21. OT: every team I hear the word “sleepsack” I think “sleestak”. So now I want to get babygirlc a Sleestak sleepsack.

    1. In my hardcore days, we had a guy in our crew with a bad haircut named Chuy. He looked like a Pakuni, so we all called him Cha-Ka.

  22. I’ve made $76,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student.I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money.It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it.

  23. Malvin: I can’t believe it, Jim. That girl’s standing over there listening and you’re telling him about our back doors?

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