Updated March 14, 2016
It’s not every day that cryptography comes up during one of the U.S.’s most popular late-night shows. But last night, the “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver devoted the majority of the half-hour episode to the increasingly hostile debate over encryption.
Several different polls indicate that the complex disagreement between Apple and the FBI has confused and divided Americans—but Oliver thrives at explaining thorny issues. He’s had success in the past getting people to care about less-than-sexy issues like net neutrality and civil forfeiture. And in a very public fight between two very recognizable American organizations, it’s possible that he may be the one to bring encryption as close to a dinner-table topic as it’ll ever get.
In the Sunday-night episode, he admitted that there’s no easy way to settle the debate, but he listed off the reasons that convinced him to side with Apple.
“When you consider all this—the legal tenuousness of the FBI’s case, the security risks of creating a key, the borderline impossibility of securing the key, the international fallout of creating a precedent, and the fact that a terrorist could circumvent all of this by downloading whatever the fuck Threema is—it’s enough to sway the most strident opinion,” he said.