Skip to main content

UNLOCK THE DAMN PHONE

The internet loves John Oliver. He's smart. He tackles both highly visible and obscure subjects with ease and he seems to be having fun while he's doing it. He curses. Lots. He's British and, as Americans seem to have decided, Brits are always smarter. So when Oliver says that it's a bad idea for Apple to decrypt the phone of an honest to God, no question about it, shoot innocent people dead terrorist, the internet nods its head and agrees. Here's the whole bit.

Pfui. Oliver is wrong. Simply wrong.

Forget for the moment that the owner of the phone has given permission. (Remember, the phone in question was a work phone and not the personal phone of the terrorist.) Forget for the moment that there's a warrant and that the warrant does not ask for a permanent back door but simply assistance in the opening of a specific phone. Just think about this. As Apple has said, and Oliver himself repeats in his piece, it would take a few guys working on it a few days to decrypt the phone.

A few guys and a few days. And, according to more than one expert, those guys wouldn't even have to be working at Apple. So we're arguing over a work product that would take the same time to produce as it would take good coders to fill out their NCAA March Madness brackets.

I get it. There's a prosecutor in New York with over 100 phones belonging to murderers and pedophiles and rapists that he would like decrypted. If Apple did this once, they might be required to assist law enforcement in bringing down hundreds, maybe thousands of bad guys who use encrypted phones to hide their terrorist intents, their pedophilia, their stalking and their serial rapes.

Wait a minute. Thousands of terrorists, pedophiles, and rapists might be captured or successfully prosecuted if it were possible to decrypt their phones?

Who was it that said, "[a] strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means."

Thomas Jefferson.

Who was it that said, "[The insurrection] in nearly one-third of the States had subverted the whole of the laws . . . Are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated?"

Abraham Lincoln

Who was it that said, "The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."

Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson. Not as famous as the other two guys, but the actual source of the ubiquitous 'not a suicide pact' quote.

So we have to decide. Are we a nation of both public and private transparency, with enough flexibility in the law to protect ourselves? Or are we a nation of dark places and hidden, untouchable, safe and secure purveyors of evil? It seems to me to be disingenuous to hold the belief that Snowden and Assange are heroes, that our government doesn't have the right to keep secrets, and at the same time believe that those who plan to destroy our civil society have the right to keep their secrets completely protected from discovery, even when there is sufficient probable cause for a court to issue a warrant.

Unlock the damn phone.

Comments

  1. After today's events in Brussels how can the CEOs of Apple sleep nights ? If Silicon Valley is the next target ,will there be a change of policy or will profit destroy civilization ...again !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't even see the need to bring that into it. It's evidence in a crime. If the evidence had been in an apartment, you'd go to the landlord, show him the warrant, and he'd open the door for you. That simple.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

GRAND CAFE OCCITAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

  We made our way to a new restaurant the other day, up toward the hills past La Liviniere in the small town of Felines-Minervois. None of our party had been there before, but a friend had visited and said that she'd enjoyed it. She's a vegetarian. First clue. Now don't get me wrong. I have no gripe with those who choose to go meatless. I understand the environmental concerns and I understand the horrors of factory farming. But I also understand that form follows function in the design of tools, in the design of appliances, and in the design of human teeth. Our incisors and canines did not develop over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to rend the flesh of a fresh-caught broccoli. We are omnivores by design, Darwinian design. And I enjoy eating omni. Enough preamble... I never went inside the Grand Cafe Occitan. A young lady who would be our server met us at the front door of the nicely pointed old stone house, leading us to a pebble-covered courtyard on the side

THINKING OUT LOUD...

GRACE SLICK, BREXIT AGAIN, SELF CHECKOUT, AND MORE: #18

    GRACE SLICK I just listened again to Volunteers , the last Jefferson Airplane album with the 'classic' lineup. 1969. Perfect. Sometimes sloppy. Sometimes over dramatic. But perfect. And Grace Slick. Grace. Slick. Perfect. BREXIT & CONSERVATISM Except for the 30% or so who've drunk the Kool-Aid, can we all agree that Brexit is not working out as advertised? And that the Republican Party in the USofA has sold its soul to a cadre of authoritarians who think they are the true small-d-democrats but who don't want everybody to have a vote and won't abide by a vote that they don't like? How did it happen that, in the name of political conservatism, two countries put into power incompetent leaders financed by greedy elites? And I just read that Michael Gove thinks that Liz Truss is toast because her agenda has been shredded. Whose agenda has been shredded more thoroughly than Gove’s and why would any thinking person be interested in his opinions except to liste