Re: Why would Apple (or anyone else) want to be in the loop?
That seems to be the biggest unsolvable problem regarding any key escrow scheme.
But I can see one thing that could be done, which would not solve it 100% in theory, but which might be claimed to be "good enough" by those politicians and others who feel a key escrow scheme is necessary.
What if, instead of one "master key" which, if stolen, would allow hackers to read encryption with the same facility as law enforcement (but without needing warrants)... there were five of them?
So that when a police department gets a warrant to decrypt a cracked phone, they have to send the encrypted escrow key on a trip to five different government agencies to get back the key they need to read it? I can see it being believed that hackers wouldn't be able to simultaneously crack the security of, say, the Department of Justice, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and NIST, to get all five master keys. And without even one of those keys, the encryption would remain unbreakable.
That, of course, requires a commitment to erase all the other master keys when one of them is compromised, and give up the ability to read all the old phones, though, and that's probably the part that won't happen.