From the desk of Lu Wei: Apple, encryption and China
February 18, 2016
Director of the FBI
Yo yo yo. It’s been a long time. Hope you don’t get up to too much trouble in the year of the monkey.
I’ve been following with interest this news about the Apple court order and I must say we are very impressed with your approach! We prefer to just directly demand that foreign companies operating in China hand over user names, passwords, PIN numbers and other personal data. But asking for this workaround is genius. Wish we had thought of that.
As you know, Apple have talked the talk but have rarely walked the walk
when it comes to China. There was a time when Apple might have thought they had the upper hand on us but that lasted about 5 minutes and was in 1992! LOL. Pay no heed to Cap'n Cook’s note.
Apple is the one company we love to hold up as setting a great example for how foreign companies should be conducting themselves if they want to do business in China. Apple will do anything and everything for us - from censoring those pesky internet freedom and Free Tibet apps to storing user data on servers in China. When I pick up my iPhone to call Cap'n Cook, he’s already on the line!
I see that Cap'n Cook took exception to your reasonable request for a workaround so I thought I would reach out with some helpful advice and pro tips. You, too, can have the same leverage as we do over Apple if you just follow my simple to use, no hassles, six-step plan. I think if you adopted our approach, you could make Apple work for you like they work for the Chinese government. And if we work together, we can both achieve our mutual goal of making obsolete all private communication, everywhere in the world! Win win, me thinks.
I’d appreciate it if you don’t share my facsimile with our peers - this playbook is just for you and me.
1. Remind Apple that they love saying “We comply with all local laws and regulations in every country that we operate in”. I know that technically Apple “operates” in the Cayman Islands, but you know what I mean. Lay down the law with them!
2. Point out that all of their competitors are working with you (even if it is not true) and they risk being the odd man out. Remind them that they were late to the NSA table on PRISM, and they need to be on the ball if they want to salvage their relationship with the FBI. In case you misplaced your copy, I’m sending you over my copy of Ed’s slide.
3. Ask for a little favor at first, something that’s not so important to you, like censoring some random app. When they refuse to cooperate, throw a massive hissy fit and claim that they are insulting all Americans everywhere. Then ask for another little favor, something which you think they have a 50/50 chance of accepting. If they refuse, then throw another hissy fit and come up with a new request. In they refuse again, repeat again, until they comply.
4. Once they comply, and trust me, they are Apple, they’ll eventually comply, you need to start ratcheting up the requests quickly - this is when you drop the censorship asks and focus on the technology asks.
5. If they balk again, threaten them with closing all Apple Stores and banning the sale of Apple products. If they balk at this, then poke some holes in the warranties they provide for their products, let the public know that they are getting cheated and organise some Occupy-like protests outside Apple stores (make sure you bring enough eggs). That will at least give the shareholders a fright! I know that China accounts for about $58 billion of Apple’s revenue, but Americans still contribute a fair share to the house that Jobs built. Use that leverage while you still have it!
6. Once they have turned, and they always turn, you’ll get whatever backdoor workaround you want. After they turn, don’t forget to issue them with our standard PR and media relations guidelines and tactics so we can get this story out of the news and focus on more important things, like puppy dogs and ice cream.
Don’t worry about those detractors who are telling you that this case will provide “precedent” for bad actors like me and Lil’ Kim. Confucious says - “precedent schmecedent”. If you don’t build this, we will! Hope that helps buddy and I look forward to seeing you at Fadi’s BBQ!