Obama's 'tone deaf' comments on encryption draw criticism at SXSW

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in General Discussion
President Barack Obama's recent comments on encryption and national security have drawn criticism from the highly connected audience of the South by Southwest festival, including one particularly prominent voice --?Congressman Darrell Issa.


Rep. Darrell Issa speaking at a previous SXSW festival.


In an appearance at the festival last week, Obama warned against taking an "absolutist" position on encryption, saying that both sides need to make concessions. Unsurprisingly, that didn't sit well with SXSW attendees, who tend to side with Apple in favor of stronger encryption.
There's just no way to create a special key for government that couldn't also be taken advantage of by the Russians, the Chinese, or others who want access to the sensitive information we all carry in our pockets everyday." - Rep. Darrell Issa
Rep. Issa, R-Calif., spoke with USA Today about the encryption debate, and didn't mince words when it came to Obama's response.

"It was tone deaf," Issa reportedly said. "He did not read the room in that portion of the answer. There's just no way to create a special key for government that couldn't also be taken advantage of by the Russians, the Chinese, or others who want access to the sensitive information we all carry in our pockets everyday."

In Obama's view, un-hackable encryption is not an ideal solution. He believes law enforcement agencies should be given access to devices in limited cases, likening it to TSA checks at the airport or drunk driving checkpoints.

But to Issa, those comments were "a detriment to privacy."

Unlike many in politics or law enforcement, Issa has a background in technology. He was co-founder and CEO of Directed Electronics, a maker of car security products including the Viper alarm. He also served as chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association, which runs CES, from 1998 to 2001 before becoming a member of the U.S. Congress.

Issa's stance is in opposition to many of his colleagues in Washington, who largely side with the FBI and believe Apple should create a "backdoor" to access iPhones that may be of interest to law enforcement. At the center of the debate is an iPhone 5c that was used for work by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terrorist attack late last year.

Apple has countered by saying that creating a "backdoor" to its iOS platform would not only be a major security issue, but it could also set a precedent for governments to request access to devices in questionable situations.

Apple has received nearly unanimous support from Silicon Valley, with more than two dozen American technology firms signing amicus briefs backing the iPhone maker. A number of civil liberties groups, including the ACLU and EFF, have also stepped in on Apple's side.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    I get the feeling the Gov't is going to force feed this flawed view of 'special access' and when it blows up, gets exploited and millions pay the price, they will blame the technology companies for 'not doing it right'.. foolish, arrogant, and many other words I cannot say here.
    SpamSandwichbadmonkcivamwhitejbdragonicoco3jony0ewtheckmanlostkiwitdknox
  • Reply 2 of 47
    As ardently as these government buffoons (including this worthless President) are trying to punch up the urgency of this encryption buggaboo so that we give in to this fabricated situation and give up our rights to privacy over his red herring, what the hell did the FBI do to catch criminals BEFORE we had these smartphones and this encryption?


    civajbdragonicoco3lostkiwitdknox
  • Reply 3 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,089member
    Right on, Issa. Unfortunately, the Idiot-in-Chief is the one whose comments make the news. I scanned the headlines of multiple news sites today and no coverage given to Issa, just a bunch of pro-FBI propaganda.
    civamwhitejbdragonlatifbpicoco3ewtheckman
  • Reply 4 of 47
    roakeroake Posts: 638member
    Obama has an agenda.  True encryption is a problem for that agenda.  He threatens to have Congress address this issue if Silicon Valley does not.  What he actually means is that he will personally address it via executive action.  Congress and the people of the USA are right when they agree with him.  If not, he has no compunction about taking matters into his own hands.
    jbdragonadonissmudesignr
  • Reply 5 of 47
    Darrell Issa should also be informed that:

    1. The TSA master key that opens up every TSA lock that protect your luggage can now be printed out by anyone with a 3d printer since the instructions for doing so are in public. So your TSA locks no longer protect you from any thief since any thief can easily make their own copy of the key.  No wonder airport employees steal your belongings from your baggage.  They have the master key.  Now anyone can have the key.

    2. As noted on some online articles, the master key to every New York City elevator is for sale on eBay and states outside of New York.  It may be illegal to carry with you in New York.  But what thief who wants access to every floor in every apartment, hotel, or building in New York wouldn't want to buy one for a few bucks in New Jersey or on eBay?  Every building with an elevator in New York is now accessible to thieves and other crooks - including terrorists.

    3. The lawmakers and police applauded Apple for locking up the iPhone with security.  This stopped many iPhone users from being assaulted or killed by thieves who wanted their iPhones.  This reduced the rate of crime significantly in big cities like New York.  But now, if Apple is forced to create a back door to iOS, this will immediately be accessible to thieves.  And the rate of assaults on iPhone users will once again go up.  Obviously, since Android users have no security, they are already the targets of assaults and theft. 

    So much for keeping the backdoor private.  So much for the idea of keeping the public safe.

    Backdoors completely blow open any idea of safety or privacy and make you more easily victimized.

    edited March 2016 SpamSandwichcivastevehjbdragonration aldmdevbaconstangfotoformaticoco3adonissmu
  • Reply 6 of 47
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,028member
    Just read WhatsApp is now being investigated to force them to break their encryption software. This attack on encryption products has only started and it won't stop with Apple. As most of us with any technical sense already know (thank you @sog35), encryption is an absolute. Encryption is not secure if there's even a 1% chance built into it of being broken. Let them try a brute force attack. It won't work because the software has taken that into account. This is proper encryption software. Allow a short four number pin code but back it up with additional security (time delays, auto-erase) to make it 100% strong. Before someone says nothing is 100%, I'll challenge that because right now iOS is looking as close to 100% as anything out there. I feel sorry for President Obama because he didn't have gray hair when he became President but all the insanity of attempting to run a country full of people with their own agendas, people who could care less about what's right for its citizens, and lobbyists demanding special favors has put 30 years on his body and he's showing the effect. I don't feel he can think rationally anymore because he's constantly being peppered with demands from all sides. I would never want to be the President, however, Obama is for several more months and needs to do what's right for the people of this country and the people of the world. He needs to protect encryption because it's the right thing to do.
    badmonkcivabaconstangicoco3manfred zornjony0lostkiwitdknox
  • Reply 7 of 47
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 677member
    America, the land of the free to ignore relevant facts,
    To believe in a future that emulates the best of North Korea,
    Where the intelligent are vilified and the stupid honoured,
    And the home of the most advanced tech company in history
    Which is being slowly pecked to death
    By ducks.

    PS If the US doesn't support Apple and encryption, Putin deserves to win.
    iSRScivajbdragonicoco3anantksundaramjony0tdknox
  • Reply 8 of 47
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 323member
    This is all wag-the-dog.  Because the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc...can't do their jobs, they blame everyone else.  Nice try.  Criminals now are sophisticated because of enrcyption?  Really?  But before SB, they were all dumbasses?
    SpamSandwichstompycivabaconstangicoco3anantksundaramjony0tdknox
  • Reply 9 of 47
    komokomo Posts: 25member
    I Believe the president is OK but, not on this issue. The FBI should do their job as they did before computers came in the making.
    thebmt
  • Reply 10 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,089member
    roake said:
    Obama has an agenda.  True encryption is a problem for that agenda.  He threatens to have Congress address this issue if Silicon Valley does not.  What he actually means is that he will personally address it via executive action.  Congress and the people of the USA are right when they agree with him.  If not, he has no compunction about taking matters into his own hands.
    "Congress and the people of the USA are right when they agree with him."

    The "people of the USA" do not agree with him.
    edited March 2016 stevehicoco3tdknox
  • Reply 11 of 47
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,427member
    ceek74 said:
    This is all wag-the-dog.  Because the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc...can't do their jobs, they blame everyone else.  Nice try.  Criminals now are sophisticated because of enrcyption?  Really?  But before SB, they were all dumbasses?
    Remember when US technology companies were prohibited from exporting encryption technology they were using in their products? How soon they forget. I'd almost like to see this happen, so that a week later China would force Apple to do the same thing for them, and watch the comedy ensue as the Feds start howling that Apple can't do that. If only it wouldn't case so much harm in the process ...
    ceek74stompycivamwhitetdknox
  • Reply 12 of 47
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    Imagine that, A congressman with knowledge of what's at stake here. 
    SpamSandwichicoco3lostkiwitdknox
  • Reply 13 of 47
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,110member
    sog35 said:
    Obama warned against taking an "absolutist" position on encryption...........

    sorry Mr President. Computers and encryption are absolute.
    There are only 0 and 1. PERIOD.

    Your system is either secure or it isn't.


    We already had this exact same debate in the 90's with the Clipper Chip. The FBI was saying the exact same things then are they are now!!! They failed to get their way back then, so here they are once again trying to do the same thing and hope to gain backboor access this time. There is no middle ground. It's either secure or it isn't. If the Government get's their way, it's the average U.S. citizen that will be screwed. The 99%'er's!!! Any Criminal/Terrorest will just install any 3rd party encryption software from outside the U.S. that has no back doors and there's not a single thing the U.S. Government could ever do to stop it. So really, it's not about stopping Terrorists. After the fact didn't stop anything. It's really about wanting to mass spy on the general population!!! The Terrorists will be just fine on the other hand.
    ration albaconstanglostkiwitdknox
  • Reply 14 of 47
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,110member
    adrayven said:
    I get the feeling the Gov't is going to force feed this flawed view of 'special access' and when it blows up, gets exploited and millions pay the price, they will blame the technology companies for 'not doing it right'.. foolish, arrogant, and many other words I cannot say here.
    We had this exact same debate back in the 90's and the Clipper Chip the FBI wanted put into all devices!!! I think that chip was hacked in like couple months. People wised up back then and remembered it was a Global Economy. The hat was out of the bag and there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle. The simple fact of the matter you can just use paper and a pen and have real good encryption that they can't hack!
    nolamacguyewtheckman
  • Reply 15 of 47
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 652member
    roake said:
    Obama has an agenda.  True encryption is a problem for that agenda.  He threatens to have Congress address this issue if Silicon Valley does not.  What he actually means is that he will personally address it via executive action.  Congress and the people of the USA are right when they agree with him.  If not, he has no compunction about taking matters into his own hands.
    "Congress and the people of the USA are right when they agree with him."

    The "people of the USA" do not agree with him.
    Judging by the rest of the message, I dare say that Roake meant that Obama considers that Congress and the people are right when they agree with him.  (And they're wrong when they don't.)  It's hard to know what "the people" think of this.  I do believe that Obama's supporters trust him so much that they'll agree with him no matter what it is.
    ewtheckman
  • Reply 16 of 47
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,110member
    As ardently as these government buffoons (including this worthless President) are trying to punch up the urgency of this encryption buggaboo so that we give in to this fabricated situation and give up our rights to privacy over his red herring, what the hell did the FBI do to catch criminals BEFORE we had these smartphones and this encryption?


    They just haven't figured out how to read our minds YET! Has anyone seen the movie "Fortress"? Was released in 1992. Anyway, this Prison had a device on rails going around the Prison above the cells where it would randomly stop and see what's going on in people's heads. That would be the FBI's ultimate goal. Have devices placed around citys randomly viewing people's thoughts, all justified in stopping Terrorists,
    adonissmu
  • Reply 17 of 47
    Issa the crook? Well, then the president must be doing something right.
    JeffA2
  • Reply 18 of 47
    jungmark said:
    Imagine that, A congressman with knowledge of what's at stake here. 
    He hates the president more than you do, so it's only fortuitous for you that your positions align. 
    JeffA2
  • Reply 19 of 47
    Dear Mr. President,

    The words "encryption" and "compromise" should never appear in the same sentence.
    SpamSandwichadonissmuicoco3ewtheckmanjony0tdknox
  • Reply 20 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,089member
    jungmark said:
    Imagine that, A congressman with knowledge of what's at stake here. 
    Rep. Ted Lieu is also pretty well informed because he used to be a programmer and I've seen comments from him defending strong encryption. It's all the corrupt ones who seem to think there should be no protections except for them alone.
    edited March 2016 icoco3Blastertdknox
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