RUSH: In the e-mail, “Rush, I’m already getting confused. Despite how much time you have spent and how clearly you’ve explained this Apple mess, could you make it even simpler for me to understand?” Sure. Here is the simplest way to understand this controversy with Apple, and the iPhone 5c that was possessed by the terrorist. Do you like the fact — now that you’ve learned it — that the government cannot crack your phone? Do you like that? How many of you up until now think that the government could have gotten into your phone, followed you around, GPS, read your mails, ready your e-mails, your text messages?
How many of you thought that was going on that the NSA was tracking you because they care so much? Have you figured out what the real takeaway from this is? The government can’t crack your iPhone! And the government wants to be able to crack your iPhone. So the real question is: “Do you like the fact that the government can’t read your e-mails?” (sigh) Well, if you have a phone later than the 5c, and if you’re running iOS 8 or 9 (if you’re running 7, it’s a little different), with Apple’s help, they can.
But if you’re modernized, do you like the fact that the government can’t crack your phone? Do you want the government to be able to crack your phone? If you do, then hate Apple for what they’re doing here. If you like the fact that the government can’t crack your phone, which they’re tantamount admitting here, then you need to support Apple. They’re the ones trying to keep people out of your phone. It’s no more complicated than that, folks.
RUSH: Now, look, the Apple circumstance is, obviously, a little bit more complicated than I stated it. But in terms of really getting to the nitty-gritty about what it’s about, I did give you the boundaries. This could be solved very simply if the FBI wants what’s on the terrorist’s phone. If they would agree to take the phone to Apple let Apple find out what’s on the phone and report back to the FBI, you’d have this done this afternoon. That’s not what the FBI wants. See, that’s the problem.
The FBI wants to be able to get into that phone itself after Apple weakens its own security systems in the software. And then after that, the FBI and the government and other law enforcement want to be able to get into any other phone, ostensibly in the hands of criminals, without having to go to Apple to do it. There’s a story out there that Apple has helped the FBI in 70 separate instances. Maybe so. But there’s a key fact that’s being left out of the reporting on that. The key is: Can you get that data with the phone locked or unlocked?
“Locked” means you need to enter your passcode to unlock it and be able to use it.
The only time Apple has been able to get data off of a phone for the FBI is when it was locked. Apple has never unlocked a customer’s phone to get data. If they’re running an iPhone 4 or an iPhone 5 or a 5c (and running iOS 7 or older), then Apple can go in and get certain data even if the phone is locked. But if it’s an iPhone 5S or 6 or 6S running iOS 8 or iOS 9, they can’t. But the point is: How many of you have been believing at this time that…? You’re sending a text. You’ve got a text or an iMessage thread going with somebody.
And you think, “Gosh, I’ve got to be careful what I say here because somebody could be reading this.” You just learned now that they can’t. You’ve learned that that’s encrypted front to back, and the only person that can read what you’re typing is the person you’re sending it to. And vice versa: You’re the only one that can read what they’re typing (other than they, of course), because it’s encrypted on both ends. And the key (in other words, the key to unlock the encryption) is on the phone; it’s not at Apple headquarters.
The FBI wants to be able to read your e-mails, other law enforcement, if you’re a criminal — they want to be able to read your text messages — and they’re asking Apple to give them the permission to unlock your phone or a terrorist’s phone or whatever. No, they’re not asking. They’re going to court demanding, as the federal government, that the courts make Apple make their systems more vulnerable. The point is that I don’t know how many millions of people up until this incident probably believed that, if the government wanted to, they could spy on them.
Read their e-mails, maybe even follow their FaceTime phone calls or their text messages. And what you’ve learned is nobody can. Your government cannot crack your phone. Surprise, surprise. I’m sure there’s a lot of paranoid people actually sad to learn that, because they had bought into this giant conspiracy belief that the NSA is tracking everybody and listening to everything, content. Turns out it isn’t true.
So if you like that circumstance, if you like the fact that the government can’t crack your phone? That’s the question for you. Because government doesn’t want to just stop at particular phones that may be under suspicion. They want to have the ability to be able to unlock and use any phone whenever it’s under suspicion without having to go to Apple. And to make that possible, they either want Apple to weaken their systems or to give the government the key to unlock. Now, that is a simplification, but it pretty much spells this out.