• Posted: Feb 20, 2016 11:18:36
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There are times when citizens need to be expert in the laws that govern them. Otherwise, giving deference to those claiming expertise on our behalf merely hands over, perhaps irretrievably, our right to govern ourselves.
Per our Constitution, the courts adjudicate fair and just application of laws enacted by our elected representatives. Courts may also nullify laws found to be inconsistent with the letter and intent of our Constitution.
Within the currently pending case FBI vs. Apple, an agency of the executive branch of our government, charged with law enforcement and the protection of public safety, has asked for and received court assistance in compelling the manufacturer of a device, containing the personal information of a deceased person, to open that device so its contents can be examined. Since the deceased person is presumed to be the perpetrator of a crime, it is believed by the investigating agency that his personal information may be useful in finding and apprehending accomplices and preventing future attacks against the public.
Many citizens and government officials are sympathetic to the goals of the FBI. Nobody wants violence to become the norm within our country. But there are other issues at stake. Our Constitution guarantees all citizens due process of law, freedom of speech and association, and protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Yes, the deceased person in question has given up some of those guarantees through his own criminal acts. But the rest of us have not. Compelling Apple to open the device in question places all such devices in jeopardy of being opened, by order of the court with warrant or not, by criminals, by foreign governments, by authoritarian governments not our own, by pranksters, by competitors, by blackmailers. As a safe secure private repository of personal information, thoughts, dreams, plans, and associations, all such devices become violated with the creation of a key to unlocking this one deceased individual’s phone. And that is an humongous assault upon all of our persons. In fact, upon the entire public’s safety and wellbeing, as privacy is the birthplace of all the inspiration and innovation that helps move humanity forward.
In want of a key, the entirety of privacy is lost. That is a blunder this court, these misguided agents of government, and this country should not be allowed to make. Rather, law enforcement agencies need to gather evidence based upon overt behavior, not upon the private thoughts, plans, dreams, fantasies, or associations of anyone. Fear is not and never has been rational justification for anything. Fear is especially not justification for destroying that which keeps humanity alive.
But ... but ... but ..., you may say. Is there really only one way to secure an iPhone? In other words, can existing iPhones be made secure again with an updated iOS? And if not, could owner’s of those iPhones sue the FBI and Apple for breach of confidence? Perhaps, perhaps. But would anybody ever trust Apple again, or the government? Or any security system from any vendor?
The issues and complications are endless. However, the answer is simple. Leave Apple alone. Leave privacy alone. Fear of what may nor may not be contained within the private thoughts and associations of one person is not adequate or rational justification for assaulting and destroying privacy for everyone. It never has been. It never will be.
Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
10.9 mm 52 mm