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Here’s the President Obama/Kara Swisher Interview Apple Cited in Its Court Filing

"I lean probably further in the direction of strong encryption than some do inside of law enforcement."

Vjeran Pavic

Part of Apple’s strategy in its fight with the Justice Department over encryption is to argue that the U.S. government itself isn’t sure about the right way to balance privacy and security.

And today, Apple cited President Barack Obama’s own acknowledgement that there are conflicting views. That happened a year ago, when Obama sat down with Re/code Executive Editor Kara Swisher for an interview.

“As the president has recognized, these issues are part of ‘a public conversation that we should end up having,'” Apple noted in its filing in its dispute with federal government over the iPhone connected with the San Bernardino terror attack, referring to the interview Re/code published in February 2015.

Here’s a longer excerpt of the discussion, which came when Obama and Swisher were discussing encryption, and how much access law enforcement should have to Silicon Valley companies’ data.

Kara Swisher: Years [ago], you were much stronger on civil liberty.

Barack Obama: I’m as strong as I have been. I think the only concern is our law enforcement is expected to stop every plot. Every attack. Any bomb on a plane. The first time that attack takes place in which it turns out that we had a lead and we couldn’t follow up on it, the public’s going to demand answers.

And this is a public conversation that we should end up having. I lean probably further in the direction of strong encryption than some do inside of law enforcement. But I am sympathetic to law enforcement because I know the kind of pressure they’re under to keep us safe. And it’s not as black-and-white as it’s sometimes portrayed.


And here’s a video excerpt with even more context:

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