I’ve been terribly conflicted about Apple’s stance against the FBI order to unlock a phone. Initially I supported them. Government overreach, George Orwell, the $500 million Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), Snowden, and whatnot. However, the more I thought about it the more I think Apple is in the wrong this time.
What changed my mind is a safety deposit box. According to both political parties, if the other party wins life as we know it is over. Armageddon, dogs and cats sleeping together, America is lost. My first thought was that it’s time to bury my gold bars, toilet paper, and zombie apocalypse supplies in the backyard. Unfortunately I live in a designated historic district so that would take approximately 16 months for environmental permits and preservation committee approval. That’s when I realized a safety deposit box was just the ticket!
Every good spy has a safety deposit box stocked with the essential bug-out supplies. So I started reading up on the rules. Turns out, the government does have the right to open up your box. If you’ve committed a crime, or the box is suspected to contain material related to a crime they can obtain a warrant and seize the contents. Isn’t that exactly what has happened with this iPhone? A government agency owns a phone that was suspected to be connected to criminal activity. The FBI obtained an order for that device to be opened. Seems lawful to me. I think Apple is wrong in this instance.
I still agree with the principle of Apple’s argument. If Apple wants to open the phone and hand it back to the FBI, fine. However, the FBI should not be given a set of keys to everyone’s safety deposit box just in case they might need it someday. The government does overreach. Once you cede privacy and rights to them there’s no going back.
I’m not a Cliven Bundy conspiracy nutjob. I don’t think the government has a grand, evil plan to turn us into North Korea. A large percentage of government workers aren’t smart enough to find their way out of a wet paper bag, let alone hatch a vast KGB-like network without spilling the details to Whoopi Goldberg on the View.
However, technology is making data collection and eavesdropping easier than anyone could have imagined. Look at the Stingray and Dirtbox. Even local police are now intercepting cellular conversations. The amount of surveillance being done around Anaheim and Disneyland is disconcerting. Come on now – Mickey friggin Mouse? Wait, a giant mouse that walks around only in odd shorts is kinda weird. What’s the real story behind his name change? Someone needs to keep an eye on that dude.
As Homer Simpson famously said, “A man who would give up a donut today for the promise of weight loss tomorrow, deserves neither the donut or beer.” It was something like that. It could have been Ben Franklin. But his often misquoted statement was related to his appointment by a family who resisted paying taxes to raise a defense against Indian attacks. But that’s a story for another day. I need to start digging that hole in the backyard.