The debate is raging in the media. The world’s most valuable company, APPLE, is taking on the world’s most powerful law enforcement agency, the FBI.
If you’re haven’t been following the story, I’ll catch you up quickly.
The FBI is trying to get into the iPhone of one of the jihadist San Bernardino, California attackers. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people attending a Christmas party in December.
And the FBI, understandably, wants to get inside the phone to look at contacts and messages. They suspect the attackers made contact with other jihadists both here and around the world, and they are almost certainly right about that.
But the FBI can’t get into the phone. They attempted to guess the password but after several attempts the phone locked up or ‘bricked’. This means the phone is virtually worthless to them now –without help from Apple.
The feds have demanded that Apple help them get inside the phone and Apple has refused. The battle went to a Federal Judge last week, who rejected the government’s claim that they had a right to require Apple’s compliance.
Judge James Orenstein said:
“The relief the government seeks is unavailable because Congress has considered legislation that would achieve the same result but has not adopted it.
“It is also clear that the government has made the considered decision that it is better off securing such crypto-legislative authority from the courts,” Orenstein said, “rather than taking the chance that open legislative debate might produce a result less to its liking.”
That last sentence seems to be a comment on the fact that if the legislative branch starts debating the legality of encryption and domestic spying there is very good chance lawmakers could undermine the government’s ability to spy on it’s own citizens. Just guessing there.
So, here’s my reaction to all this:
1. First off, I was stunned the government didn’t already have a way to unlock these phones. I thought they had snuck in a back door long ago.
2. Second, I took a little joy in imagining some highly trained FBI agents trying to unlock an iPhone by guessing the PIN and entering ‘1,2,3,4’..nope.…’2,2,3,4’…nope…’3,2,3,4’… before the phone locked up.
3. Lastly, I stand with Apple. They should NOT unlock that iPhone, and I’ll explain why below.
It’s no secret to any of our readers that our privacy has been eroded beyond all recognition. The 4th Amendment has been destroyed by the NSA, the FBI and their cohorts.
How much longer will be we give away our basic right to privacy while being told it’s all for our own security? And for those that believe that Apple must do it to help protect Americans, consider this.
The only way for Apple to comply with the FBI’s request is to essentially provide a ‘backdoor key’ to ALL encrypted phones. This backdoor would unlock any iPhone according the company.
Do you trust that the FBI will be judicious in it’s use of this of this all-powerful key?
Furthermore, what’s to stop them from demanding a key from every provider and company on US soil? How would you ever trust a business with your personal information ever again?
Here’s the core issue: should a company be compelled to defeat it’s own security measures at the government’s behest?
I say NO, it’s time to stay STOP the erosion of our privacy rights by an overreaching government. When will it end? Are we, and the companies we trust, expected to just hand over every last shred of our privacy?
Now you can make the case the government should get special access in special cases, like this one, but that’s not what the government is asking for. The key they want would open ALL iPhones. And it’s a matter of time before they demanded the same from other manufacturers.
In fact, they already have. And, as that article points out, the government is really bad at keeping it’s own data safe. How on earth would they ever protect yours from hackers and cyber-terrorists?
I believe the FBI surely has other means of tracing the contacts and communications of the San Bernardino killers. Surely there are phone records, emails and other communications that can be traced using traditional police methods too.
Also, we know the NSA tracks every communication through it’s back doors at cell and internet service companies WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION. Why don’t they ask their friends at the NSA for this information?
So, I know many of you disagree with me. Some of you may agree. Tell me, what do you think?
Leave me a comment below. Be nice, I am not your enemy.