President Obama Talks Apple, Privacy vs. Security And Technology’s Role In America
At a time when the world is waiting for Apple and The U.S. government to settle their differences in the arena of the Supreme Court, President Obama took a flight down to Austin, Texas to speak at the SXSW music, art and technology festival.
With his approval ratings at a three year high, Obama spoke with Evan Smith, CEO/Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune primarily about the role of technology in our lives. He also spoke about ensuring that everyone has the internet and the need for business and the government to work together for our safety’s sake.
Obama talked about the role that technology has in our lives today and encouraged private companies to work with the government, for example suggesting that we could make voting easier with advancements in technology from private businesses.
Obama also broke down his plans and hopes for technology, and the impact that his administration has had on the development technology for all Americans to benefit.
When asked about minority participation on the internet and the “digital divide” that exists amongst minorities and whites, Obama talked about the The Opportunity Project, funds the installation of wifi for low-income and rural areas and he also shed light on the Obama’s TechHire initiative that launched in 2015.
Starting with 21 communities and over 300 employers, the TechHire project provides Americans with accelerated, nontraditional technical training they need to obtain better jobs and achieve better futures.
Under Obama, the White House has expanded 4G/LTE mobile access, increased Internet speeds and found ways to connect schools to the Internet.
For all those curious about Obama’s opinion on the Apple case, he remained tight lipped on the issue, but did say that offer some insight on the issue with his opening statement.
“Look, we are at a moment in history, where technology, globalization, our economy is changing so fast and this gathering SXSW brings together people who are at the cutting edge of those changes. Those changes offer us enormous opportunities, but also are very disruptive and unsettling. They empower individuals to do things that they could have never dreamed about before, but they also empower folks people who are very dangerous to spread dangerous messages.”
“Part of my challenge as I’ve been president is to find ways in which our government can be a part of the positive change that is taking place and can help convene and catalyze folks in the private sector and non profit sector to be part of the civic community to help tackle some of those challenges.”
But when asked directly about the Apple case with the FBI, Obama had this to say about our privacy vs security.
“First off I can’t comment on the specific case – lets set that aside. All of us value our privacy and this is a society that is built on a constitution, and a Bill of Rights, and a healthy skepticism about over-reaching government power. Before smart phones were invented, and to this day, if there is probable cause to think that you have abducted a child or that you are engaging in a terrorist plot, or you are guilty of some serious crime, law enforcement can appear before at doorstep and say, ‘we have a warrant to search your home’ and they can go into your bedroom and into your bedroom doors and rifle through your underwear to see if there is any evidence of wrong-doing. And we agree on that, because we recognize that just like all of our other rights, there are going to be some constraints to make sure we are safe, secure and living in a civilized society.”
“Now technology is evolving so rapidly, that new questions are being asked. And I am of the view that there are very real reasons why we want to make sure that government can not just willy-nilly get into everybody’s iPhones or smart phones that are full of very personal information and very personal data. Let’s face it the whole Snowden’s disclosure episode elevated people’s suspicions of this. So does popular culture by the way…”
For more, check it out below, we’ve started the video at Obama’s answer on the Apple vs. The FBI debate.