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Episode 123 June 26, 2018 | 26min

Privacy, Data Encryption, and the Law

Our co-founders debate digital privacy and the government’s access to our data.

Show Notes

Why Aren’t Virtual Spaces Protected?: This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziadetalk about privacy around your data and devices. We talk about search warrants, the systemic problems of the prison system, and ways that encrypted messaging is influencing our laws. We also get a preview into Rich’s life as a lawyer!

Rich Ziade Related: I think this all can get solved with a tweak on face ID.

Paul Ford [Laughs boisterously]

RZ I really do.

PF Oh really it’s face ID? Is the answer?

RZ Well face ID eventually is gonna be able to detect if you’re up to something.

PF Yeah, you’re assuming that people in the future will still have faces [Rich laughs]. That we won’t all have to wear these sort of flat masks that hide who we are [music fades in, plays alone for 14 seconds, ramps down].

RZ Paul, do you know what a fact pattern is?

PF I don’t. It sounds — it sounds like the sort of thing I love, though.

RZ It’s the facts [ok] not opinion or decision or perceived —

PF Ok, but why pattern? [Music fades out]

RZ It’s just like bullet one, bullet two, bullet three, bullet four —

PF Oh ok, here’s the facts in the pattern of bullets.

RZ Right, right.

PF Ok.

RZ “Charlotte, North Carolina: 7 am on May 3rd: John opened key, you know, took his key out and opened the door to his house; and he was attacked.”

PF Funny how you — you still love the law.

RZ I love the clarity —

PF But you know what’s funny about —

RZ The law seeks clarity.

PF Your dad pushed you into — I don’t think you would’ve gone to law school if anyone was like, “Rich, what do you wanna do?”

RZ My dad told me I had a trusting face.

[1:19]

PF Yeah, so he’s like —

RZ Cuz he thought all the law was Matlock. He thought it was all trails.

PF Yeah. Oh yeah [laughs] Perry Mason, like, “Oh this [stammers] — stand up so we can see the scar!”

RZ Right, and then I go to law school and they put me in a library 12 hours a day.

PF Yeah. They’re like, “Contracts. [Exactly] Get excited.” But you ended up liking the nerdy part [silence].

RZ I liked the deductive reasoning around it, that was interesting. It’s like — it’s the same kind of machinery used for good code, good clean code.

PF And there was no plan that you would fall in love with this. It was just like, “Go, be a lawyer.”

RZ I don’t love it. I mean I — I loved — I loved the — the gymnastics, the mental gymnastics but I didn’t love the law.

PF Was that the first thing that had ever really pushed you mentally? [Silence]

RZ Yeah.

PF Ok.

RZ I did really well in statutory drafting [mm hmm] which is about as close to programming as you’re gonna get.

PF Yeah, they made you a more abstract thinker.

RZ Yes, that’s true.

PF This is a big part of your thinking.

RZ It is. I think a lot of the business is run through a lot of the sort of the thinking around the law.

PF I will never do anything professionally without a lawyer again. It’s an unbelievable —

RZ It’s very — it actually creates a lot of anxiety if you don’t have that kind of —

[2:23]

PF I’ve come to you three or times for stuff also like when I’m writing on the side or doing other stuff, and be like, “Rich, is this a — a risk or not?” And, you know, the great piece of advice you’ve given me (and this is not what anybody wants to hear) is, “Anybody can sue you for anything at any time.”

RZ Yeah.

PF So you just need to be, you know, you need to be buttoned up but also plan for that.

RZ Yeah. I mean — yeah. [Chuckles] Pretty much.

PF Just assume that it could happen and, you know, I mean —

RZ Yeah. “Will they sue me?” Is the wrong question.

PF No. They always could. The other thing is that, you know, like you’ll say things where you’re like, “Oh yeah, no, they could come for our houses if that ever happened. [Stammers] Just don’t worry about it.”

RZ They can come for anything.

PF “Don’t worry. We’re very well protected, we’ve — we’ve covered all of our bases.”

RZ Yeah.

PF “Everything is fine.”

RZ Yeah.

PF And, historically, like especially working in media I don’t think people know how much in media you are half informedly trying to manage litigation risk, right? Because you’re writing about people, you’re doing things —

RZ You have a lot of power.

PF And the — there’s a lot of contracts flying around at any time. You pick up — pick up any issue of The New Yorker and there’s about 170 contracts that go into that particular issue [sure]. Nobody can keep all those contracts [crosstalk] —

RZ And sign offs from attorneys.

PF Oh yeah. Absolutely.

[3:37]

RZ They read the piece and they’re like, “Ok, this can go.” Or, “Take that sentence out.” Or, “Are you sure [stammers] I don’t think we can do this one.” It depends how aggressive you wanna be. The courts are, I mean the US system is — gives enormous leeway to media but [yeah] you can’t destroy people with it.

PF Well, when I worked at Harper’s Magazine we had a lot of litigation insurance. That was big part of our life [sure] and when people email me about things on the website, conversations were fine. But there were just these moments whenever they’d be — when they’d mention lawyers or they’d use certain sort of key terms.

RZ Yeah. “Slander.”

PF “Defamatory,” “libel,” whatever. [Yeah] What’s tricky is they want your attention as an editor at a magazine. They’re not thinking that you’re just some schmo behind an email [right] and — and so they wanna use big, important legal words so that you pay attention to the thing that they — they’re worried about.

RZ For sure.

PF And, the minute that happens, you’re like, “Ok. It’s not my problem anymore,” and you march it down the hall to the general manager who then calls the lawyer who is contact with the liability insurance people [yeah] right? [To sign off] And so you just live in a fog of fear, trying to keep the institution from getting sued while still doing your job.

RZ Yeah.

PF Anyway, in the future, if you ever wanna start a business: buddy up with a lawyer. That’s my advice.

RZ It reduced stress a good amount.

PF So anyway, I don’t wanna distract us from our true topic which is privacy.

RZ Well, yeah, but let’s start with a fact pattern, a term lawyers love.

PF Fact pattern!

RZ Ok. So, James lives on 123 Main Street.

PF Ok.

[5:06]

RZ And a lot of different people go in and out of his house, strangely [mm hmm] um and word gets around, especially by the police on the street, is that he deals.

PF Sure.

RZ Ok? And —

PF Drugs!

RZ Drugs.

PF Not like unusual chocolates or —

RZ No, that would be great.

PF — imported mang —

RZ I love good chocolate.

PF — imported mangoes that are illegal.

RZ No.

PF Ok.

RZ It’s drugs.

PF Drugs.

RZ And the evidence is mounting, and they arrest someone who’s dealing on a corner a couple blocks away.

PF Ok. Not James.

RZ Not James. And —

PF Sally. Sally is —

RZ Sally. And they take — they take her in, and they question her, and they say, “Well ok, look: you’re — you’re kind of small time. We didn’t find a lot on you. You’re clearly dealing,” and she’s like, “Yeah — ”

[5:52]

PF Like, “We like you, Sally — ”

RZ “Trying to make a living. What do you want me to do?”

PF “We — we don’t want you to go upstate for — for six months, for a year. What — what do you wanna do here?”

RZ “Where’d you get your stuff?”

PF [Sings] Dun dah dah.

RZ And she says, “James.”

PF A couple blocks away.

RZ A couple blocks away.

PF I23 Main Street.

RZ So now some information is starting to compile that is definitely putting a picture together about James.

PF Yeah so we had a little suspicion but that’s not enough [yeah]. People going in and out of a house is not enough.

RZ Let’s make it serious. Like we’re being funny about it but let’s say it’s — it’s opioids. Like —

PF Yeah, ok.

RZ Let’s say like this is killing people. This thing [ok] is ruining lives, right?

PF Mm hmm.

RZ And this guy, we have a dotted line connecting James to a pharmacy a mile away that seems to be the source [ok]. Uh he used to work there or something [ok]. Ok? So now a picture is coming into focus and the police put together a request for a search warrant.

PF Ok.

[6:46]

RZ Ok? And they —

PF Which is a form. Like they’re filling out a form —

RZ It’s essentially a form but it is a judgement call.

PF No, I get it. I get it.

RZ It gets in front of a judge, and the judge may wanna — may wanna beat them up a little bit, ask some questions.

PF Mm hmm.

RZ And, they’ll say, “We have Sally’s testimony, right? We have he used to be employed at this pharmacy and we see him going in and out sometimes, we have photos of that. And we think his house is a pretty dangerous place.”

PF “There’s drugs there.”

RZ “We think there’s drugs there and we wanna — we wanna catch this guy.”

PF Ok.

RZ “And we’d like to search his house.”

PF Ok.

RZ And the judge is going to either sign off or not. The standard is probable cause [mm hmm] not beyond a reasonable doubt which is a higher standard [sure]. That’s what you put people in jail for. It’s probably cause. Do you give —

PF What does probable cause mean? Like what is probable of what?

RZ Literally probably.

PF So probably [Rich laughs] — probably — the cause to go in is that probably they’re doing something wrong.

[7:48]

RZ Right. So the judge looks at this and decides yes or no.

PF And he or she has a probably cause filter in their head.

RZ Yeah. They’re [stammers] the judge may ask for. He’s like, “What else you got? This could be hearsay. She may want — maybe Sally wants to frame the guy [mm hmm]. What else you got?” And they draw this picture out, right? There’s photos they’ve taken from across the street from the pharmacy of him going in and out with bags.

PF I’ve seen The Wire.

RZ Ok. All of it?

PF Yeah.

RZ And so it’s pretty strong, right? Do you give the police their search warrant?

PF Me personally?

RZ Yeah, you’re the judge.

PF Ugh. As the judge. Umm [silence] it’s really tricky cuz in general I like to say I’m just against the carceral state but in reality as the judge here, I have to uphold the law and I probably —

RZ 14 data points have been put in front of you.

PF Ok. So that’s probable cause.

RZ So, sign off?

PF Yes.

RZ I stabbed your liberal heart. Like I put a knife right through your — your just —

PF I’m doing it for the purposes of this exercise.

RZ Otherwise you wouldn’t give the search warrant?

PF Mmm [sucks teeth] I [sighs] [silence] ah — alright, we don’t have 36 hours on the podcast.

RZ Ok.

[8:58]

PF So what the hell? I’m gonna throw away a lot of things I believe in and say, “You know what? I see a preponderance of evidence here — ”

RZ I’m really glad you’re not a judge.

PF Yeah! You should be!

RZ Yeah.

PF [Chuckles] Talk about jobs I would never want.

RZ In the transcript, at the court, it cannot say, “I threw away a lot [chuckling] of the things I really believe in to give you this decision.”

PF Yeah, here you go. “Opioids are a danger to our society. This person is a source of opioids and the recourse we believe we have is the criminal justice system, therefore we should get a warrant and go in there.”

RZ People are dying.

PF Mm hmm.

RZ And we want people to die less.

PF I certainly see and understand that logic.

RZ Alright! So, pretty reasonable case here, right? Uh to go in. And essentially there is a — there’s laws right up to the constitution that protect our privacy in terms of our homes, in terms of our information —

PF Sure. There are legal search and seizure.

RZ You can’t — you can’t even uh look at my phone.

PF Mm hmm.

RZ Without some cause, right?

PF Ok. Ok.

RZ And let’s pause this and go to how a piece of software like Signal works, and I wanna turn it over to you.

PF Ok.

RZ How does Signal work?

[10:05]

PF Signal’s a chat and phone client and it lets you have group conversations as well.

RZ Mm hmm.

PF But basically [yeah] Signal allows for end to end encrypted communication meaning I text something, I type it into my phone, and it’s encrypted at my phone and then it goes through the network in an encrypted form that law enforcement or anyone who taps into that line cannot read or decrypt, that we know of, and it gets to the other person’s phone, through the network, and then they are able to decrypt it and look at it.

RZ So even Signal Incorporated can’t read it.

PF Signal is a not-for-profit.

RZ The Signal system can’t read it?

PF No one can see it.

RZ Nobody can see it [music fades in]. Ever.

PF That’s right [music plays for seven seconds, ramps down]. Hey, Rich, let’s just do this ad right now, real fast!

RZ Oh. Yes.

PF [Laughing] We are — people get confused — they’re like, “It’s a good podcast [stammers] what — do they have a business?”

RZ Yeah.

PF We have people who listen to this podcast who know people who work here and can’t quite figure out — they’re like, “Yeah, do you listen to this podcast?” And the people who work here are like, “I work there.”

RZ [Laughs] I’ve heard about this.

PF And we’re like — and they’re like, “No, I know but do you — [stammers] nobody really works there.”

RZ Yeah.

[11:23]

PF No, no. There are 50 people here making software all day long and they’re —

RZ Designing, building, architecting.

PF They’re really good at it.

RZ They’re great at it.

PF They’re sweet and they’re serious and they’ll tell you no when you need to hear no but they’ll — mostly we just try to get you what you need [silence] to build your business, and your big NGO, or your finance enterprise.

RZ World thing.

PF Media company, all the things that we do. So get in [music fades in] touch: [email protected] Let’s get back to the debate.

RZ Yes! [Music plays alone for seven seconds, ramps down] Ok. We busted Jim.

PF Ok [music fades out].

RZ We actually are really lucky. First off: we found the stash, there’s a lot of pills there.

PF Ok. So the warrant was granted —

RZ The warrant was granted. We went in. We found it. We arrested him right afterwards. “Uh you’re under arrest possession blah blah blah.”

PF It’s a great example of how complicated our relationship and like doing things is that it took us 20 minutes to get to —

RZ To arrest Jim.

PF — yeah, we had to go through law school [yeah] and then my political opinions.

RZ Correct.

[12:23]

PF Anyway.

RZ Correct. Um and we also arrested, and this gets murky but we also arrested someone else there who looked like they worked for Jim. Let’s just say.

PF Ok.

RZ And we’re talking to both of them. Jim won’t say a word. We start talking to — to Dennis.

PF Dennis.

RZ Ok.

PF Mmm.

RZ And we start to interrogate and it’s like, “What’s going on? Where is he getting this stuff from?”

PF Mm hmm.

RZ He’s like, “Uh I’ll get in trouble, man. Blah blah blah blah blah.”

PF Yeah.

RZ And he says, “I don’t know. He gets a phone call, he leaves for 20 minutes, he comes back with a bag. Um if — sometimes he’s just chatting away on his phone, and then he gets in the car and I don’t know where he goes.”

PF Ok.

RZ Ok? Now we want another search warrant.

PF Ok.

RZ For [silence] that phone.

PF Alright.

RZ Right. Jim locked it. Won’t let us in and we would love to figure out either the lines to the pharma provider or whatever, so we can really get at the root of something here [mm hmm] beyond Jim even. Right? And we go and ask for another search warrant. We make the case and now we have a easy search warrant. We found 6000 pills in his — in his house.

[13:33]

PF We gotta find out where they’re from. Well, I mean, now we’re in an interesting zone because let’s say I do a lot. I mean probably at this point, yes, right?

RZ Well, we got Jim!

PF I’ve got the phone.

RZ Yeah but that’s just hardware.

PF But let’s just say I have the phone in my hand [mm hmm] and we’re gonna unlock Jim’s phone. Ok, well, clearly that’s gonna get us access to a network of opioid distributors.

RZ Potentially. You may find nothing. By the way, search warrants often are given and there’s nothing there.

PF No, but I mean that’s — there’s a good chance.

RZ There’s a good chance. He’s communicating somehow, yes. So, yes.

PF Yeah.

RZ Ok. So how do you feel about technology that exists that [silence] doesn’t allow that next step. Jim used Signal.

PF How do I feel about it?

RZ Yeah.

PF I actually I have two feelings about it. One is [silence] there are abuses of the system and they are international and they are global and it’s very — like this idea that you should be able to get in and see people’s communications? [Silence] Very slippery slope and the real issue here is: boy! It’s gonna be hard to put this one back in the bag. Ok? You got Signal now, it’s non-profit. You could have Signal that runs out of another country. You could have Signal that just is peer-to-peer and talks to two phones as apps. You could have Signal that like — You could get real encrypted. You know? And you can get — you can get more and more paranoid and it becomes harder and harder to unlock that, and that’s global open technology that if you’re willing to commit to learn how to use it, you can go ahead and use it on just about any platform. And if you don’t wanna use it on your phone, you could use it on your desktop. And if you don’t wanna, you know, et cetera, et cetera. So [silence] in real terms it’s awfully hard to put this one back in the bag. And there have been a lot of attempts. I mean literally my entire adult life they’ve been trying to put backdoors in to encryption protocols.

[15:22]

RZ No, no, I — I don’t disagree but [silence] do you think the police has the right to get to the information on his phone?

PF [Sighs] Ah boy! It’s so messy. Yeah, why —

RZ It’s privacy. We’re still on privacy.

PF Alright, let’s stay on privacy.

RZ That is my information, that is my house, that is my car. This is privacy.

PF No, I don’t think they do.

RZ You don’t think they do.

PF I don’t think that — it just every avenue here ends up bad. Like you — you — what are you gonna do? What can the police do in this thought experiment? Can they make him put in his password? Like what are they gonna do?

RZ Forget the means. Doesn’t matter. Let’s say they have the software that reads an iPhone or whatever.

PF Ok so they can copy the whole thing and he didn’t set his Signal to expire.

RZ Forget Signal for a second. It’s just —

PF You’re saying —

RZ It was an iMessage. Can they get to his phone?

PF Well I mean they —

RZ Technically, they shouldn’t do it. They don’t have the right to the phone. They can’t — if they the search warrant for the house, they shouldn’t go [no, no, no! But if they get the — ] pop open the trunk of a car.

[16:24]

PF — search warrant for the phone.

RZ Yeah.

PF I mean now you’re getting into this like the conversation is is it different to get a search warrant for like a physical space or an abstract, virtual space?

RZ No, I’m not. That’s the same thing.

PF I think — I don’t think it’s — I think that is the same thing.

RZ It is the same thing. I agree with you there.

PF So if you allow one, you allow the other.

RZ So, let them get into the phone. Find out where this guy’s getting his drugs or whatever.

PF I mean it’s — yeah. Yeah. If we granted the first warrant, I think you grant the second.

RZ Ok. That’s your rationale?

PF I don’t actually see a fundamental difference between a virtual entity like a communication network and a physical space like this guy’s house.

RZ Ok.

PF If I’m convinced that both are used — if I’m — if I’m convinced that [ok] opioids sales are a risk to the world [uh huh] and I’m convinced that these things are involved with opioid sales, then go ahead.

RZ Ok. Alright. So —

PF Again, I’m just deep in thought experiment mode here.

RZ So if we walk this back [yeah] do you believe that search warrants should exist at all?

PF Do I believe that search warrants should exist at all?

RZ At all.

PF Yeah, probably. Yeah, absolutely.

[17:29]

RZ So then with that logic —

PF I think you threw me into a zone with the opioid stuff like if somebody was holding a kid at gunpoint, you know, or like I thought that there were children at risk in the house or [mm hmm] you know, things like that. Then I’m like, “Alright, a search warrant is justified.” But it’s just like once you got me into the opioid epidemic, I’m like, “Oh my god! This is a systemic problem in America connected to the carceral state and we have a — ”

RZ Well —

PF “ — an endemic problem.”

RZ I picked a particular crime.

PF Yeah, no, no, no.

RZ I don’t know if you even needed to go that far.

PF You melted my brain. My ears are —

RZ Yeah.

PF [Stammers] Trying to market here.

RZ I could pick even weirder ones, right?

PF Right. This is bad marketing. Anyway, keep going.

RZ This is bad marketing. I think this is fascinating.

PF No, I know.

RZ I think it’s fascinating because I think it — it — it forces a particular question to get asked that —

PF But see this is the thing —

RZ — goes beyond my right to privacy.

[18:16]

PF I think end-to-end encryption is like when — it’s very hard to ban it, if people want it. And it’s also like —

RZ I don’t disagree with that.

PF It’s also hard like you could be like, “Oh well we’re not gonna let them sell it in the app store anymore but then what if you use https to connect to a website.” Like if I can do secure banking online then I’m going to be able to securely share messages with someone in a way that’s relatively untraceable.

RZ Yes.

PF So, I mean and I’ll do it through a web browser instead of through an app because Google App Store and Apple App Store won’t let me download Signal anymore. Like you can clamp down on it all you want —

RZ Is that true?

PF No, no. I mean but like —

RZ Oh you’re saying —

PF Yeah.

RZ — if they really —

PF If that ever happened, if people were like, “No more encryption [yeah] like this in America. We need to know what’s going on because of the risk of terrorism.”

RZ Mm hmm.

PF The infrastructure is such that it’s basically impossible, basically all you’re saying is, “You’re gonna need to learn two more steps.”

RZ Yeah. Many people don’t. A lot of criminals are dumb. It — it — it —

PF True.

[19:20]

RZ You’re not — I mean there’s always the extremely sophisticated criminal in — in other mediums, media, as well. Right? You could argue but it sounds like, what I’m hearing, and [stammers] you’re echoing my position it just took a while to get you there.

PF Mmm.

RZ And it was incredibly painful.

PF Mmm. It was painful for me, too.

RZ Um privacy is sacred. It should be respected unless there is enough reason to infringe on it because a greater good is being threatened, harm is being inflicted, et cetera, et cetera, in some way.

PF Sure.

RZ A search warrant could be, by the way, white collar. Like, “It’s time [no, no, no — ] and get that paperwork out of there cuz you’re a CEO criminal [sure] that finally needs to be brought down.”

PF That doesn’t happen quite that much. But yes.

RZ I mean it could be anything, right?

PF Ok.

RZ But from what I’m hearing you can get to that person’s phone.

PF What people need to understand and I don’t think the judicial system and the — the sort of legal understanding of America has gotten there yet. The things that allow for basic fundamental digital society like encrypted transactions with financial platforms like [yeah], you know, checking your balance at TD Bank which we have implicitly assumed is a really good thing. We really like digital banking, overall.

RZ Like checking your balance on your phone.

PF Going to an ATM is a good example [right]. Yeah, checking your balance on your phone, getting a text message with an update. Like the systems that are underneath these things are the same ones that allow encrypted chat.

RZ Yes.

[20:59]

PF You can’t put it all away. You — it just doesn’t really work that way. You’re talking about algorithms and fundamental libraries. It’s just that increasingly people are paranoid right now and everybody has mobile phones and Signal’s a good example. Signal’s a pretty good product experience.

RZ Ok.

PF It’s pretty easy to connect anybody with a phone number. The code is open for people who are very paranoid. It’s well funded and it works about as well as any text messaging client [mm hmm]. So what I’m saying there is that the ease of use of text messaging or email or making a phone call is now available with end-to-end encryption.

RZ Right.

PF Ok. And if you — you can go ahead and put — you could ban Signal and say — and go to Apple, and Apple could maybe cave if the — if the law was passed.

RZ Mm hmm.

PF Right? Apple only has so much leeway, it has to follow the laws of the countries in which it operates.

RZ Ultimately, yes.

PF But the thing that makes Signal Signal and the thing that makes — and the thing that let’s you um put 500 dollars in your bank account and know it’s gonna be there.

RZ Yeah.

PF Kind of are the same of things. And it’s just like now we’re productizing the human encryption part where we’ve gotten used to the transaction encryption part [mm hmm] and we’re starting to create experiences about that and it’s like — so all — the fantasy that you can have back doors or — or create these sort of like alternative ways for encryption or that law enforcement is going to be able to make this work in their interest is just a fantasy. [Silence] So how do you deal with that as a society? Well right now the thing that everybody always proposed at the — at the sort of state level is we need backdoors so that we can go into encrypted channels and see what’s actually being said.

RZ Mm hmm.

[22:41]

PF And so what that just happens is you end up with an open solution that people have vetted that has no back door that people use privately, without using a centralized service. And so most people probably will just opt into the backdoor if it’s the most convenient thing.

RZ Yeah. It’s a bit of an arm’s race.

PF Right but if you’re a smart terrorist and I mean there are dumb terrorists who reads one uh, you know, one post on your terrorist message board [yeah], you’re off forever, we’ll never see you or know what you’re talking about.

RZ Right.

PF And so I just like — that fundamental truth of all this stuff doesn’t come up very often. Like we — you can talk about it in a very abstract way but it just is never going back in the bag. Ever.

RZ I don’t disagree with that.

PF No, because we like all the other stuff so much. We like the bank accounts [yeah], and we like the, you know, protecting pictures of our children [yeah], and logging into our computers so that no one can steal them [uh huh] and just get access to all our stuff.

RZ Yeah. I agree practically [mm hmm] that’s true. I — I think brute force, you could make it illegal.

PF Do we have 40 years of the United States government trying to figure this out and learning this lesson? Probably yes.

RZ Yeah. If I had to predict, I think there’s gonna be one really, really horrible case —

PF Oh yeah!

RZ — that’s gonna come down, that’s gonna change things. I don’t know what it looks like.

PF Let’s say somebody blew up a school or, you know, something like —

RZ It’s gonna be bad and they used Signal and we can’t —

PF Remember there was a terrorist incident and it was all about will Apple unlock this phone or not for the FBI [correct] and then the FBI found another way in.

RZ Yeah.

PF Right? So it was like this little weird almost precedent [yeah] like — but yeah bad things happen and everything’s digital [yeah] and so those two things together mean that a global level catastrophe —

[24:24]

RZ I don’t know if it has to be global. Well, something really bad.

PF Or I’ll say a global media event connected to someone using a mobile device —

RZ Is going to shake things up.

PF Mm hmm and — and there will be a very, very strong argument made that everything needs to change and we need to have more transparency for law enforcement on these networks.

RZ Yeah.

PF And it will be very compelling and congress will be incredibly motivated to pass it. I think that that is very likely.

RZ I think that’s true.

PF Yeah.

RZ Do you think — I mean —

PF And it will be meaningless.

RZ I don’t know about that. I don’t know about that [inhales sharply].

PF Oh my god! Well, we solved that one!

RZ Yeah! I think [Paul laughs] it’s a — it’s a fascinating debate.

PF I think —

RZ Close it out: yes or no? Should they have been able to get into that guy’s phone?

PF Well but I mean did he encrypt his stuff or not? It doesn’t matter. Sure, sure, go grant him the warrant and then it kinda comes down —

RZ I mean this was a five-second warrant, right? It’s his phone next to the car.

[25:15]

PF Yeah it comes — I — I guess, you know, for me I’m just like, “I don’t — I don’t make the rules, right?” So I’m like, “Ok, fine [music fades in]. Ok, that’s how it’s gonna go.” And then it’s up to him if he encrypted his stuff or not.

RZ Paul, uh, if you have anything to say about this, anyone out there, feel free to send it to us, encrypted or unencrypted, we’re open to however way you wanna communicate with Postlight.

PF That’s true. Go ahead and sign it with you PGP signature.

RZ [Chuckles] [email protected] This was a fascinating debate. [Paul scoffs] It had a Public Television quality about it.

PF Let’s get back to um our email.

RZ Life [laughs] [music ramps up, plays alone for six seconds, fades out to end].