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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

President Obama Warns Against 'Fetishinzing' Smartphones at SXSW

The President visited South by Southwest (SXSW) last week. During a talk he tried to convey a sense of balance in the dispute between Apple and the DOJ. The government wants Apple to build a special version of iOS to unlock an iPhone that was used by deceased terrorist Syed Farook. Apple has refused to comply with a court order because of fears that such code would end up in the wrong hands. That would make every iPhone user on earth vulnerable to having the private information kept inside their phone, stolen by hackers.“The question we now have to ask technologically is if it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key, there is no door at all?” he asked.  speaking at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin on Friday. It was Obama’s first extended disquisition on the contentious issue of encryption. Obama insisted that there is a middle ground. “My conclusion so far is that you cannot take an absolutist view on this,” he said. “If your argument is strong encryption no matter what, and we can and should create black boxes, that, I think, does not strike the kind of balance we have lived with for 200, 300 years, and it’s fetishizing our phones above every other value. And that can’t be the right answer.” But the problem is that you can’t have strong encryption without it being unbreakable. Being absolutist about encryption is “the only way [it] works” tweeted Jake Laperruque, privacy fellow for the Constitution Project and the Open Technology Institute. So what will be the impact of widespread 'fetishizing' our smartphones? Send your comments to the Cloud and Cyber Security Center:

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