AT&T CEO: Congress, Not Companies, Should Decide Encryption Policy


[H]F Junkie
Jan 21, 2005
It would seem your statement here falls right in line with what I am trying to say.

You are correct, it is standard practice for a company to encrypt data on company phones. They also usually go with phones which, if lost or stolen, can be remotely wiped.

If a Court demands data from an employees phone the business would have to comply or face some real trouble. But if the company uses iPhone 6s for their business, all that data is encrypted and can only be accessed by the employee who used the phone. That means the company can't comply and by law, if it's too much trouble and unreasonable, they don't have to. To me, there is a problem with this.

My daughter had a stroke, her doctor sent her home, said it wasn't a stroke even though she had an episode right in front of him in the emergency room. The symptoms were undeniably stroke like, they did not perform an MRI because they don't have the expertise to interpret the data, they have it done by St. Joseph's in Tucson, 70 miles away. He didn't know what her problem was but he did have stroke symptoms and failed to take any action, including sending her to Tucson. It's been a year since and my kid is still fucked up from this stroke, can't work, can't drive. Now it's a malpractice case.

If the lawyers can show that the doctor discounted her as a stroke victim because of her young age, my kid will win a settlement. If this guy was texting a superior and evidence of this is on his phone or in his stored data, my kid should win.

I am glad this happened over a year ago and maybe he didn't have a iPhone 6 and the latest OS yet.

Now you should be able to see where I am coming from.

I do, but I'm not sure what the solution is. I'm not an attorney, so I don't know what you can compel a person to turn over. I really don't think there's any way you can force an individual (and ultimately, the DR in this scenario is being sued) to incriminate themselves and any avenue that Apple can take is ultimately a back door or a weakness that can be exploited.

However, if you're just suing the hospital, then maybe the law is different (hell maybe I'm wrong on both accounts)


Jul 2, 2011
Probably AT&T needs this to protect itself, usually they jump as high as gov wants at the drop of a dime. If they go along with it then they can be shielded from a future legal mess.


Successfully Trolled by Megalith
Jul 18, 2010
Maybe, but Congress is the law making body of our government and at least one house is supposed to represent the little guys. I actually agree with Tim Cook, I don't want the government to allow Apple to get away with what they are doing because the result is not in our best interest.

If Apple does get away with what they have done then in short, all anyone has to do is store all their data in cloud based services which offer encryption and data at rest encryption with no possibility of accessing the data themselves and no one will be able to get to that data even with a warrant or subpoena. Business will call it a cost saving measure that's also great for attracting customers and no one will ever be able to prove anyone has done anything wrong again.

You won't be able to sue anyone and get anywhere if the law suite relies in digital records. Forget suing a hospital or doctor for malpractice, forget suing an investment company for your lost savings, forget any chance for justice against any kind of corporate misdeed or excess. And forget trying to get anything from the Freedom of Information Act because if business is going to get away with murder you can bet the government will be right there with them.

If you guys can't see that allowing anyone to make the claim that electronic data stored at rest, phone records, whatever it might be, is a bad idea. That the data can't be retrieved when legally required is a massive threat to all our institutions that goes way beyond paranoia and fear of government surveillance, then you just don't possess the mental ability to see the issue for what it is.

Keep being derisive of the issue, spit the words criminal and terrorist all you want, ignore that this goes way beyond those narrow implications, and then be amazed when things don't go the way you thought and then be even more hateful of the government for not looking out for you, the citizen, when you can't even comprehend the issue at hand and can't be asked to think of it in broader terms.

If you can't see the forest for the trees, you should just stay the fuck out of the woods :D

Its more important to preserve innocence than to punish guilt.


[H]F Junkie
Jun 12, 2012
You know, I would think by now you would know that they don't come to these decisions without going through people that are technical and after consulting technical research.

You know who makes such claims? The other party does. The other party says so and so voted this way and we had this failure, and the politician doesn't know anything about x. But that's not really truthful, it just wins votes.

They hire specialists, employ think tanks, etc, and sometimes things work and frequently they are mismanaged. But usually the failure really isn't tied to who voted to do what, it's usually a lot closer to where the failure actually occurred.

The contract I am working on is in just this kind of trouble, great team on the ground, crappy management from our company leadership coupled with poor performance from the government "customer". We need guidance and requirements in order to give them what they need and they either can't decide on what they want or won't, or at the least, won't communicate it. It's seriously starting to impact production, production is pointing fingers at us in the infrastructure IT team, and the leaders are asking us hard questions and refusing to get it into their heads that they are where the real problem is, the rest is just symptom. Government contracts frequently run like this.

And how is your last paragraph not contradicting the first? Company execs are not much different from politicians. And government contracts are what they are, because the people who push them only look for one thing: kickbacks. The fact of the matter is, that we don't need politicians involved in technical matters, and at the end of the days almost everything we do is technical. Why not just take the findings of the think tank, and act accordingly? What is there to vote about then?

But it's pointless to wonder about these things as long as there is monetary interest involved. Everyone has their own people drafting up the necessary papers to prove their side. The problem with scientists is that they can be bought to not seek answers, but to seek the question that has a specific answer.

Deleted member 126051

I dislike Tim Cook and almost everything he says, but in this one case I feel like Congress being in charge of encryption is about as boneheaded an idea as I can think of.

Putting Congress in charge of encryption is idiocy on par with putting The Big Red Button in a room fully of monkeys and drunk fratboys.