Obama Cautions Absolute Position On Encryption

Privacy and security are some of the most heated topics of discussion at the moment, with encryption being at the current forefront due to a recent and ongoing case between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over keeping iPhones used in the San Bernadino shooting encrypted. While Apple has stuck to their argument over the matter stating that they won't decrypt the device, even garnering support from some of the tech industry's biggest names including Google, Mircosoft, Cisco, Amazon, and Dropbox as well as other corporations all filing a joint briefing in agreeance with Apple's decision, the FBI is continuing to fight back with their own arguments.

Today at South by Southwest, President Barack Obama even cautions anyone being completely and totally absolute on their position over privacy and security and encryption, stating during his keynote that "if the government can't access phones, everyone is walking around with a swiss bank account in their pocket." That statement is likely not meant to be taken literally, but it does display the level of security that anyone and everyone who owns an encrypted smartphone is essentially capable of achieving, which Obama suggests does make things more difficult in the matters of public safety. Although Obama avoids using the case between Apple and the FBI as an example directly, he does mention the case while touching on the matter of device encryption, stating that society has to learn to balance the risks of having such strong encryption that it can prevent any crack, so as to prevent malicious attacks on the nation's most important digital systems, but also needing the ability to crack through those encryptions if it has a relevance to public safety and national security.

While there are large numbers supporting both camps, some stating that unbreakable encryption should be available, part of Obama's statements mention that anyone with absolute position on strong encryption no matter the cost is fetishizing phones over everything else, and that such a stance can't be the right answer to a balance between strong security but also a means to protect public safety. Obama wraps up his keynote with what he believes may be the compromise to the entire debate, saying that a solution may come in the form of having an encryption standard that is as strong as possible but also a secure key to get into that encryption if needed.

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Justin Diaz

Justin has written for Android Headlines since 2012 and currently adopts a Games Editor role with a specific focus on mobile gaming and game-streaming services. Prior to the move to Android Headlines Justin spent almost eight years working directly within the wireless industry. Contact him at [email protected]