NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden made a (virtual) appearance at yesterday’s “Blueprint for Democracy,” during which he threw some shade on the FBI’s claims that only Apple has the power to help it unlock the iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting case.
“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’ to unlock the phone,” Snowden told the audience. “Respectfully, that’s bullsh*t.”
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 8, 2016
Snowden later shared, via Twitter, an article by Daniel Kahn Gillmor of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that the government does not need Apple’s help to bypass the “auto-erase” feature on shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c.
Since FBI director James Comey has failed to mention any of these alternative solutions during his congressional hearing about the case — and has instead insisted that the FBI can’t access the iPhone data without Apple’s full cooperation — it plays into the larger question of the government’s dislike of Apple’s strong encryption.
This isn’t the first time Snowden has spoken out in Apple’s defense about the current FBI standoff. In a series of tweets sent last month, Snowden called Apple’s battle over security the most important tech case in a decade, and argued that the FBI’s efforts to force Apple to give them a key bypasses citizen’s ability to defend their rights.
Last June — before the San Bernardino case had taken place, but way after the FBI had first stated its concern over Apple’s encryption — Snowden also praised Apple’s pro-privacy stance as a, “good thing for customers.”
You can watch the rest of Snowden’s speech from yesterday’s “Blueprint for Democracy” conference below: