John Oliver Devotes Whole Show to Apple Encryption Tiff

'Think of the government as your dad,' show host warns
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2016 10:58 AM CDT

First John Oliver took on Donald Trump. Now the HBO host is taking on Apple, the government, and encryption, a safeguard he labeled on Sunday's Last Week Tonight as "the best way to keep people from reading your emails short of making the subject line 'Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Hilarious Joke From Uncle Walter.'" Oliver dedicated nearly the entire show to examining whether weakening encryption is worth the risks. After summarizing how important encryption actually is to our daily lives—securing our health records, credit card info, and "dick pics"—Oliver frames the issue using the San Bernardino shooting as the backdrop, and he comes squarely down ("perhaps predictably," per Gizmodo) on the side of Apple, which is refusing to make an exception for unlocking shooter Syed Farook's phone.

"Think of the government as your dad," Oliver says. "If he asks you to help him with his iPhone, be careful. Because if you do it once, you're going to be doing it 14 times a day." But Gizmodo also notes Oliver carries out his analysis with "irreverence and insight" and offers an "informed and balanced take." Check out the entire clip—and stick around till the end, when Oliver creates a bogus Apple encryption ad based on its own iPhone promos, per Mac Rumors. (The San Bernardino County DA says Farook's phone may have wielded a "cyber pathogen" as a weapon.)

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