Here’s What Obama Said at SXSW About Apple vs. FBI – Fortune

Addressing for the very first time the problems raised by Apple


vs. FBI, President Obama spoke for nearly 12 minutes at South By Southwest Friday night regarding balancing privacy and security.

Here’s the full transcript:

“All us value our privacy, and this is a society that is built on a Constitution and a Bill Of Rights and a healthy and balanced skepticism regarding overreaching government power. Prior to smartphones were invented and to this day, if there is probable trigger to believe that you have actually abducted a child, or that you are engaging in a terrorist plot, or you are guilty of some major crime, law enforcement can easily appear at your doorstep and say we have actually a warrant to search your residence and can easily go in to your bedroom and in to your bedroom drawers to rifle through your underwear to see if there’s any sort of evidence of wrongdoing.

“And we agree on that due to the fact that we understand that merely adore All our various other rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc, that there are going to be some constraints that we impose in order to make sure we are safe, secure and living in a civilized society.

“Now technology is evolving so promptly that brand-new questions are being asked, and I am of the view that there are fairly actual reasons why we wish to guarantee the government can easily not merely wily-nilly get hold of in to everybody’s iPhones or smartphones that are full of fairly personal short article or fairly personal data.

“Let’s face it, the whole Snowden disclosure episode elevated peoples’ suspicion of this. So does popular culture, by the way, which makes it appear as if I’m in the Sit Room and I’m moving things. There’s some half a fingerprint and half an hour later I’m tracking the guy in the streets of Istanbul. It turns out it doesn’t job that way. Sometimes I’m merely attempting to get hold of a connection.

“I will certainly say, by the way, and I don’t wish to go too far afield, yet the Snowden issue vastly overstated the dangers to U.S. citizens in terms of spying due to the fact that the reality of the matter is that our intelligence agencies are quite scrupulous regarding U.S. persons, people on U.S. soil. Exactly what those disclosures did identify was excesses overseas, along with respect to people that are not in this country. A great deal of those have actually been fixed. Don’t take my word for it. There was an independent panel that merely graded the reforms that we established to prevent those charges.

“yet I know that that raised suspicions. So we’re concerned regarding privacy. We don’t want government to be looking through everybody’s phones willy-nilly devoid of any sort of sort of oversight or probable trigger or a clear sense that it’s targeted at somebody that may be a wrongdoer.

“Exactly what makes it more complicated is the reality that we likewise want actually durable encryption due to the fact that portion of us preventing terrorism or preventing people from disrupting the financial system or our air traffic manage system or a whole various other set of units that are increasingly digitalized, is that hackers, state or non-state, can’t get hold of in there and mess around.

“So we have actually two values, the 2 of which are important, right?

“And the question we now have actually to ask is if technologically it is feasible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so durable that there is no key, there’s no door at all? After that exactly how do we apprehend the youngster pornographer? exactly how do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot? Exactly what mechanisms do we have actually available that even do basic points adore tax enforcement? due to the fact that if in reality you can’t crack that at all, and government can’t get hold of in, After that everybody’s strolling about along with a Swiss bank account in their pocket. So there has actually to be some some concession to the have to have the ability to get hold of to that short article somehow.

“Now Exactly what individuals that are on the encryption edge will certainly argue is any sort of essential whatsoever, even if it starts off as merely being directed at one device, could end up being used on every device. That’s merely the nature of these systems. That is a technical question. I am not a software engineer. It is, I think, technically true, yet i believe it it can easily be overstated.

“So the question now becomes, we as a society, setting aside the personal case between the FBI and Apple, setting aside the commercial interests, the involves regarding Exactly what the could Chinese government do along with this even if we trust the US government, setting aside All of these questions, we’re going to have actually to make some decisions regarding exactly how we balance these respective risks. And I’ve got a bunch of smart people sitting there talking regarding it, thinking regarding it. We have actually engaged the tech community aggressively to recommendations solve this problem.

“My conclusion so far is that you cannot take an absolutist view on this. So if your argument is durable encryption no matter what, and we can easily and need to develop black boxes, that I do not believe strikes the balances we’ve struck for 200 or 300 years and it’s fetishizing our phones above every various other value. And that can’t be the right answer. I suspect the answer will certainly come down to exactly how can easily we develop a system where the encryption is as durable as possible, the essential as secure as possible, it’s accessible by the smallest number of people possible, for a subset of problems that we agree are important. exactly how we design that is not something I have actually the expertise to do. yet I caution…

“I am means on the civil liberties edge of this thing. I anguish a lot over the decisions we make in terms of exactly how we preserve this country safe, and I am not interested in overdrawing the values that have actually gained us a superb and wonderful nation merely for expediency. yet the dangers are real. Preserving law and order in a civilized society is important. Protecting our youngsters is important. And so I would certainly merely caution versus taking an absolutist perspective on this.

“due to the fact that we make compromises All of the time. You know, I haven’t flown commercial in a while. yet my learning is that it’s not wonderful enjoyable going through security. yet we make the concession. It’s a big intrusion on our privacy, yet we understand it as important. We have actually stops for drunk drivers. It’s an intrusion, yet we believe it’s the right thing to do.

“And this notion that somehow our data is different and can easily be walled off from those various other trade-offs we make, I believe is incorrect. We do have actually to make sure, provided the power of the Internet and exactly how much our lives are digitalized, that it is narrow, and is constrained, and that there’s oversight.

“I’m confident that this is something that we can easily solve. But we’re going to requirement the tech community, the software designers, the people that care deeply regarding this stuff to recommendations us solve it. due to the fact that Exactly what will certainly happen is if everyone goes to their respective corners and the tech community says ‘Either we have actually strong, perfect encryption or else it’s Big Brother and an Orwellian world,’ Exactly what you’ll locate is that after something actually poor happens, the politics of this will certainly swing, and they will certainly become sloppy, and rushed, and it will certainly go through Congress in means that have actually not been believed through. Then you actually will certainly have actually dangers to our civil liberties due to the fact that the people that know this best, that care most regarding privacy and civil liberties, have actually sort of disengaged or taken a placement that is not sustainable for the general public as a whole over time.”

You can easily watch President Obama’s full performance here. His remarks regarding encryption start at the 37:00 mark;

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