John Oliver explains why iPhone encryption debate is no joking matter

The FBI's legal showdown with Apple over iPhone security has spilled into just about every facet of popular culture, from endless news coverage to Congressional hearings and even to comments from President Obama. On Sunday, it got treatment from comedian John Oliver, whose weekly HBO series Last Week Tonight does a better job than most news shows covering the important news stories of the day.

In an 18-minute segment, Oliver brought the stakes of the fight front and center and explained in some of the most concrete terms yet why—contrary to the repeated claims of the Obama administration—the outcome concerns the security of mobile data everywhere. Not only that, but Oliver kept the whole thing highly entertaining while steering clear of lionizing Apple.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Encryption (HBO)

Think of the government as your dad

Putting to rest the FBI's highly flawed analysis that the debate is about the security of a single iPhone belonging to slain San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, Oliver reminded his audience that law enforcement officers have a whole battery of other seized iPhones they also want unlocked. Compelling Apple engineers to develop a special version of iOS that bypasses safety features built in to Farook's phone, then, is only the beginning. Or as Oliver put it:

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