The FBI’s efforts to force Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone was the focal point of the latest Last Week Tonight as John Oliver spoke at length about the pros and cons of encryption.
“You may not think of encryption much, but it is pretty fundamental to all our lives,” Oliver says. “Encryption can protect the things most important to us: Our financial information, health records, dick pics, trade secrets, dick pics, classified government information, dick pics, our physical location, the physical location of our dicks, credit card information, dick pics and pictures of our dicks.”
Oliver then broke down both sides of the encryption argument: While the technology keeps the majority of people safe – especially those who lose their phone – it also provides safe harbor to those law enforcement refer to as “going dark.”
“While it can keep us safe, it’s important to note encryption also has a downside: It has become so ubiquitous, it’s making it impossible for law enforcement to gain access to certain information,” Oliver said. While Apple could technically create a way to infiltrate its own security settings to appease the FBI, guaranteeing its one-time use is nearly impossible. “Think of the government as your dad. If he asks you to help him with his iPhone, be careful, because if you do it once, you’re going to be doing it 14 times a day,” Oliver adds.
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However, as Oliver shows, Apple is susceptible to hacking, as items being sold on eBay allow buyers to break into locked iPhones. “Apple, understandably, do not want us thinking too much about that. ‘Scary security flaws’ is one of those three-word phrases they absolutely hate to be associated with, like ‘corporate tax avoidance’ and ‘factory suicide nets,'” Oliver said.
Even if Apple does allow for backdoors into their products, that doesn’t stop people who seek encryption from finding it in popular apps like Telegram and WhatsApp. To wrap up the segment, Last Week Tonight produced a hilarious Apple ad spoof that shows how the computer giant is dancing “on the lip of a volcano.”