The debate over Apple refusing to comply with a court order to break the encryption of the iPhone used by terrorist Syed Farook is not nearly as simplistic as it is being made out to be by the media. It is quickly turning into a debate over the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment and, in this case, Apple is correct.
“We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in a statement. “Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.”
The government wants a program that can break the encryption of any iPhone, not just the San Bernardino killers, and Apple is holding the line here. In the past, Apple has helped break encryption, but the difference here is, that – in this case – the government wants the program to do so. Not just Apple’s assistance, but a real, physical tool to break the encryption on this phone and on phones in the future.
The courts have upheld that information on a cell phone is protected by the Fourth Amendment, the one that states, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
After the excesses of the Patriot Act and the government surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden – whether you consider him a traitor or a whistleblower – U.S. citizens should be very concerned about government intrusion into their privacy. Apple has picked an unpopular subject for their stand – most people, myself included, believe that if there is information on Farook’s cellphone that could help prevent another terrorist attack it should be given to the FBI – but it is one that has to be made.
Helping to break encryption, on a one-by-one basis, is no worse than getting a warrant for tapping a telephone line. But giving the FBI a tool that could be used to break all iPhone encryption is a vast intrusion into our privacy rights and should be opposed, no matter what Donald Trump says.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.