Occasionally politicians slip up and reveal their true intentions. In D.C., this is called “committing candor.” While indirectly discussing his administration’s effort in the courts to force Apple to develop a software key to unlock iPhones, President Barack Obama recently admitted this battle is not just about a single terrorist’s iPhone in San Bernardino, California.
On March 11 at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Obama said, “What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement? Because if, in fact, you can’t crack that at all, government can’t get in, then everybody’s walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket. So there has to be some concession to the need to be able get into that information somehow.”
This comes from an administration that defines “tax enforcement” as asking conservative-leaning non-profit organizations whether any of their members ever plan to run for office, demanding transcripts of all their speeches, and even asking questions about the content of their prayers.
Thanks to the president’s own words, we know the current battle over unbreakable encryption (and the privacy it affords) is not about a single terrorist’s iPhone.