Attorney general defends iPhone hacking on Stephen Colbert’s show


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Loretta Lynch argues her case to Stephen Colbert.
Photo: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

With a growing number of people siding with Apple in its privacy standoff with the U.S. government, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch attempted some damage control last night by appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to defend the FBI’s position.

Check out her appearance below.

Among other topics, Lynch discussed whether or not Apple should help hack the iPhone belonging to one of the suspected terrorists in last year’s San Bernardino mass shooting: something Tim Cook and others have argued will set a dangerous precedent in the erosion of civil liberties.

While Apple has disagreed with the FBI in court, Lynch said that she personally had, “had a number of great conversations with Tim Cook on the issue of privacy.”

When asked by Colbert whether the FBI’s insistence on hacking the iPhone risked establishing a slippery slope, Lynch noted that:

“We’re not asking for a backdoor, and nor are we asking him to turn anything on to [allow us] to spy on anyone. What we’re asking [Apple] to do is to do what their customer wants. The real owner of the phone [in the San Bernardino shooting case] is the county, the employer of one of the terrorist who is now dead.

What we’re asking them to do is to disable the password erase function, that wipes the phone if you guess the password wrong after ten times. We will try and get into the phone, we will extract the evidence under the court order that we have gotten. It’s very narrow, it’s very focused.”

In other words, she’s not answering the question! By now, even FBI director James Comey has admitted that whatever outcome is secured in this case is likely to be used to set a precedent in other cases going forward: many of them not involving terrorism.

Previously, Loretta Lynch has called for a “frank dialogue and fruitful partnership” between Washington and Silicon Valley, with the aim of topping criminals from “going dark” thanks to encryption technologies.

  • MasterJ15

    I’m really, REALLY hoping the FBI loses this case.

    Unrelated to this somewhat, I hope that other similar case that (so far) ended in a win in Apple’s favour doesn’t get overturned. That would be annoying.

    • Nicnacnic

      CAN the FBI lose this case? I’m seriously asking.

  • I enjoy Colbert’s show but he is really showing himself to be an apologist for the left side of the political spectrum.

  • Hairy Goomer

    Colbert, by definition, is part of the media machine. He is only allowed his position because he toes the line of his bosses’.

  • Tom Beausoleil

    “What we’re asking [Apple] to do is to do what their customer wants.” Not this customer, I think she is mistaken.

  • JackThomasAZ


  • Dave

    You do not hear anything about Android. It must already be hacked by the government.

  • Dave

    Don’t they realize that the bad guys will just use some other form of encryption, when they know that Apple iPhones are hacked by law enforcement. So much for preventing criminals from going dark.