Tim Cook looks to be taking a stand against government overreach. In a statement on Apples website, he claims that, “Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority.
The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by ‘brute force,’ trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.”
This is an obvious no-go for anyone who has even a elementary understanding of individual rights, the right to ones own private thoughts, communications with others, and let’s not forget the protections the Fourth Amendment is supposed to serve.
Cook continues, “The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.
Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.
We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.
While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
The academic argument aside, what people really needs to ask themselves is, “Do we really want to trust the same state that has failed in every security capacity, can’t even keep it’s own data bases safe, and can’t hold it’s own people accountable, with our own personal thoughts and communications?
To what end? After all, the best security measures, people, and technology the world has to offer could not thwart 911, nor the following ISIS attacks in Paris, nor San Bernardino. Nor will these practices, people, and technologies thwart the next attack.
The world lives under unprecedented amounts of surveillance. The NSA records, sifts, and stores every piece of electronic communication (email, phone, cell phone, etc.,) in the U.S. and across a majority of the globe – to include that of other government officials. Yet despite this unmatched transparency of all communications (keeping in mind no one is suggesting all their communications be breached and made available for general public consumption – which they again have proven they can’t secure), the surveillance states and their enforcement arms are continually outmaneuvered and surprised by these types of small-scale and extremely effective attacks of this decentralized nature.
What we may have here is a gross overreach of authority with good intentions; but what we will get is a violation of your basic rights, centralized gathering of already difficult to categorize and track information, data, and metadata, a missallocating/directing limited resources/man hours, an inevitable expansion of the decision making process, an unsustainable and ultimately useless process that will not save any more lives today or tomorrow.
Why? Because the threat is decentralized, there are simply too many people to track, regardless of what godlike powers you are given.
In the end, such powers have ALWAYS been used for nefarious purposes, and what in today’s political environment (human nature) could make one feel that their information won’t be used to their detriment?
The solution is obvious, has been tried and tested, and it’s the only way to deal with a decentralized threat – we must decentralize security, and this includes decentralized and secure communications for all participants.
Apple deserves respect (especially if they stick to their guns), and they deserve both our individual support and that of the industries.
Tell them to no, you don’t want to jeopardize your information in their hands, the them that you don’t trust them, and even if you did – it won’t be right.