The Federal government, especially the law enforcement divisions, including the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is supposed to make the American people more safe, to protect us. Some would argue that these organizations have. If they were stopping serial killers, I might agree, but since that’s not the case… I digress, however.
What many people don’t realize is the “unintended” consequences of certain government actions (hopefully, theses consequences are unintended). Take, for example, the recent FBI court order against Apple. The FBI is trying to crack the encryption of one of the later model Apple iPhones in order to further investigate the terrorist attack from 12/02/2015 in San Bernardino, California, but they have been unable to access the phone without the possibility of wiping the phone’s contents due to Apple’s encryption software on the phone.
So, the FBI is trying to force Apple to create a government access loophole using a court order. The Washington Times notes Apple’s response to this:
“Apple has argued that the government has no legal right to compel it to assist in a government investigation, or to compel it to alter or destroy its business model of guaranteeing the safety and privacy of its customers’ data. Apple knows that any “key” it creates for the FBI, once used on the Internet, is itself vulnerable to hacking, thereby jeopardizing all Apple products and negating the privacy of tens of millions, and even exposing the government to foreign hackers.
“The Department of Justice has argued that Apple has a legal duty to help solve the mystery of who knew about the San Bernardino attacks so that the guilty can be prosecuted and the rest of us protected from future harm. Its lawyers asserted that the government would keep secure whatever key Apple created.” (hat tip to here for the lead)
Think about this. Essentially, what the DOJ is arguing is that Apple has a responsibility to make all Apple users vulnerable to hackers so that the DOJ can protect us (Does the DOJ really think that they can keep a backdoor secret? First law of hacking is that, if it can be hacked, it will be.). Am I the only one that finds this to be an oxymoron? What happened to cyberterrorism? That used to be a DOJ buzzword, but now it apparently means nothing if it inconveniences the DOJ in investigating in whatever manner that they would like.
Cal me old school, but I think that Ben Franklin had a point about this. He is reported to have said:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
I would add that the Apple case shows that giving up the essential liberty of privacy will not give us safety, either, as it will not protect us from the overreach of the Federal government into our daily lives, and it would open us up to whole new levels of threat from hackers.
What do you think: Should Apple comply with the court order to unlock the phone? Why or why not? Tell us below.