On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, Oliver dissected the case in his popular analytical-rant format, stressing the importance of encryption for protecting personal data. The late-night commentator has seen strong online traction for his political-satire videos, with his deflation of Donald Trump last month marking the show’s most-viewed clip to date.
To Oliver, the issue of forcing Apple to create code to crack into iPhones at the government’s behest is “a hugely complicated story with massive implications” and called the FBI’s case “legally tenuous.”
“The government is essentially demanding that (Apple) come up with a cheat code for their top-selling iPhone game, ‘F—, What’s My Passcode?!,’ rated ‘E for everyone,'” he opined.
Oliver acknowledged that strong encryption “has its costs,” in protecting the likes of terrorists, drug dealers and child pornographers, but added, “I happen to feel the risks of weakening encryption, even a little bit, even just for the government, are potentially much worse.”
Apple has filed a motion requesting a federal court throw out a judge’s order that the company must develop software to help the FBI access data on an iPhone used by an attacker in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings last December. The company argues that the order is unconstitutional and would potentially threaten the security of millions of iPhones.
Government prosecutors have called Apple’s position “not only false, but also corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights.”