Accusing Apple of terrorism misses the mark

Reagan Knopp2_thb

by Reagan Knopp

I was disappointed to see a number of people I respect level attacks on Apple for releasing a letter stating they intend to defend the privacy of technology users everywhere. Before explaining how Apple is making the correct move, I want to clear up a few things.

Apple has been accused of not helping the FBI. This accusation is false. Tim Cook points this out in his letter to customers:

When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal.

Suggesting Apple can create a backdoor that will only allow the FBI into the single iPhone 5c owned by the San Bernardino terrorist is ignorant of reality. If Apple were to create a backdoor it would, without a doubt, be used to break into all iPhones.

Once Apple grants the FBI access to the technology to break into an iPhone, Apple will no longer have control over this exceedingly dangerous tool. Neither the FBI, nor Apple could ever ensure that this tool wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. There’s no such thing as a backdoor only the “good guys” can use. There are secure devices and there are insecure devices. Backdoors make devices insecure.

A digital backdoor is very similar to the back door of your house.  Anyone who has the knowledge and ability to break in can do so. The back door in your house doesn’t magically distinguish between good and bad. It lets in anyone, good or bad, who can figure out a way to open it.

Apple isn’t standing up to the FBI because they believe it’s wrong to break into the iPhone of a terrorist. They are standing up because if Apple granted the FBI’s request, they would create a dangerous precedent that weakens the privacy rights and security of all Americans.

If Apple builds a backdoor they will make everyone less safe. Terrorists and criminals will (and do) use other products that are secure. They will buy them in other countries or they will build ones themselves. Apple isn’t shielding terrorists. They are implementing higher security standards to protect their customers from identity theft, and loss of personal information.

I’ve been told I have a right to privacy, but Apple seems to be the only one that believes it should exist in practice.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Privacy, Terrorism | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Doug Hoffman

    Now I understand, Apple is the only acceptable guarantor of rights and protection of U.S. Citizens ( regarding this issue ), law enforcement is the enemy. That pretty much follows liberal progressive thought.

    • thevillageidiot

      and you are convinced the government is the trusted vault of privacy. pull your head out of the sand. The government is the major violator of privacy. Do you trust an organization to keep the tool safe when the the most powerful agency in the entire world (the IRS) has been hacked.

    • HBguy

      Now i understand, government is full of incompetent and/or unethical scoundrals who can’t be trusted with anything. Except when it comes to police, the Pentagon and national security, in which case they are angels sent from heaven who we should trust unquestionably.

      • Gardenhomeboy

        Every department, agency, office, branch, etc of the government is filled with normal and some abnormal people. Sad thing is that the incentives they live under and the acts of bad actors compound to create a toxic system. Normal people are also flawed and fallible. It makes sense that when an institution exists largely free from competition and is left largely unchanged for decades, the system gets sclerotic or even necrotic. Sometimes bad institutions and people need to be swept away in order to promote a more positive and less extractive society. More on topic, I think giving any government goons the power to see in to any person’s data is asking for trouble and downright violates their rights as a person, let alone as an American.

      • redbean

        In addition to the “police, the Pentagon and national security,” we’re also apparently supposed to trust those who process and monitor visa applicants. (Not!)

      • Enoch Itoff

        RIP, Robert “Lavoy” Finicum, caught in a crossfire of Uber driven OSP “Peace Officers” and FBI Sharia Law Marshalls in a savoir ‘fair’ dogfight.

    • redbean

      No, Apple is not “the only acceptable guarantor of rights and protection of U.S. Citizens (regarding this issue).” They are only ONE of MANY private entities, operating within their sphere of influence, who must protect the rights of U.S. citizens.

      Yes, when law enforcement refuses to follow the Constitution, they are a domestic enemy.

      No, that’s not liberal progressive thought. It’s the thought of the founders, who preceded progressivism and liberalism.

  • Gardenhomeboy

    In many ways attacking phone manufacturers is like attacking gun manufacturers for the misuse of their products by criminals or terrorists or, heck, other governments. From what I have heard the FBI actually would have been able to gain access but for some reason the password was changed and they lost access. I don’t trust anyone, not the Feds or the police, etc with the power they have to absolutely annihilate our privacy. Its totally unnacceptable.

  • redbean

    Excellent explanation. Thank you, Mr. Knopp!

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