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Apple, the FBI, and Individual Private Property Rights
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. wrote a letter to all Apple customers. It was one of the best letters in modern times I have read regarding individual private property rights. You can read the letter by clicking here.
Private property rights are one of the rights of a society which honors liberty. There are very few countries even today who honor private property rights. It is one of the things that made our nation unique and created so much prosperity.
Most of us take our right to private property for granted. A part of private property is privacy. Privacy is something we hold dear. We like our privacy. We also tend in most instances to honor the privacy of others.
I commend Tim Cook of Apple for taking the stand against this unprecedented demand by the U.S. government to force a private company to create a back door in order to break into a phone.
Among those who are coming to the support of Apple in this case are: Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Airbnb, Twitter, LinkedIn, Twellio, Ebay, AT&T and many others, the list is long, and several trade groups like the Consumer Technology Association and others. You do know that Google and Apple are not exactly friends. However, we must all stand together to protect our individual rights.
The reasons this has everything to do with your privacy is as follows:
This is what Tim Cook says about this forcing: “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.”
This is an overreach by the U.S. Government. Using “national security” as a reason or excuse to invade your personal space does not make it ethical or right.
Tim says it better than I could say it: “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.”
Now Apple is tied up in Congressional hearings over this matte and going to court again. The majority of Congressmen and women are really not that well trained in encryption data and security. All of the techie companies that do know about encryption and keeping our data protected and private have ALL warned against the creation of a back door.
Ed Black, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association said the tech sector is very united in this case because the” FBI wants Apple to create weaker software or introduce “malware” to be able to crack the locked iPhone.”
“…to give law enforcement access, Congress could in theory mandate that devices use automatic cloud backups that could not be disabled. But that would constitute a dramatic departure from current views about privacy.
“From an individual rights standpoint,” he said, “that would take away control by the user of their personal information.”
From Airbnb, Atlassian, Automattic, CloudFlare, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Mapbox, Medium, Meetup, Reddit, Square, Squarespace, Twilio, Twitter and Wickr:
Dangerous precedent. “The government's demand here, at its core, is unbound by any legal limits. It would set a dangerous precedent, in which the government could sidestep established legal procedures authorized by thorough, nuanced statutes to obtain users' data in ways not contemplated by lawmakers.”
More important than ever. “The unprecedented scale of digital information used, stored and communicated on the Internet means that ‘privacy,' which ‘has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception,' is “needed now more than ever.”
From Amazon, Box, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nest, Pinterest, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Yahoo:
Outdated rules. “The government seeks a dramatic extension of New York Telephone (a 1977 Supreme Court case) to cover ever-evolving technologies…It is dangerous to extend that limited endorsement of judicial power over third parties to situations the Supreme Court never could have envisioned.”
Not just one hack. “The government's motion reassures the court and the public that the request here is a one-time-only hack. But there are already strong indications that law enforcement will ask for broad authority under the All Writs Act on facts far different from the terrorism investigation at hand.”
A most personal device. “Cell phones are the way we organize and remember the things that are important to us; they are, in a very real way, an extension of our memories. And as a result, to access someone's cell phone is to access their innermost thoughts and their most private affairs.”
From the Electronic Frontier Foundation and 46 technologies, researchers and cryptographers:
Conflict of expression. “The Order is unconstitutional because it compels Apple to express itself in conflict with its stated beliefs. The Order forces Apple to say something it does not want to say and that it believes is ‘dangerous.' It then forces Apple to endorse code it does not want to endorse and thereby undermine the trust it has established in its digital signature.”
This is a serious matter before us. While most people are being entertained by the politics of the day, this hearing is going on. This is a very important hearing and we should be paying attention to it. When rivals in the technology come together and even file briefs in behalf of Apple or any company put in this position, we should be paying attention.
The government has no right to force any private company to create something for them. The All Writs Act also does not put forth the right for government to do this either.
Twitter and Ebay wrote this in their brief:
The All Writs Act does not authorize the government to make an end-run around this important public debate and our nation’s legislative processes… This extraordinary and unprecedented effort to compel a private company to become the government’s investigative arm not only has no legal basis under the All Writs Act or any other law, but threatens the core principles of privacy, security, and transparency that underlie the fabric of the Internet.
You can write letters or email your congressional leaders about your interest in this case and why.
Apple and the FBI appear in court again on March 22, 2016. Let Apple know you support them if you do.