Apple Should Cooperate With A Valid Court Order

 

Readers may have heard of the recent battle between the FBI and Apple, Inc. over the issue of whether Apple may be compelled to allow law enforcement access to the iPhone of the mass murderers Sayed Rizwan Farook and his Tafsheen Malik. Last December, Farook and Malik gunned down at least 14 people in San Bernadino, California.

[To read the rest of the article, click here.]

9 thoughts on “Apple Should Cooperate With A Valid Court Order

  1. I disagree with you, for the first time that I can recall.

    This is not a “valid” court order, but rather a piece of legislation that predates the invention of information technology being used to force Apple to break their own encryption (which falls under “speech”), which would set a precedent for any and all American communications companies to be required to do the same when ordered to by the government. If Apple’s encryption is compromised, Pandora’s box is opened. Encryption in the US will not be worth the 1s and 0s it’s written in. The creation of a backdoor for one iPhone means the possibility of a backdoor for all, and that is an Orwellian road to tread.

    They are not being ordered to disclose information, they are being ordered to create a means by which to essentially break their own system and force that information out, and for what? To get some meager information on a possible contact that is by now long gone? How “connected” would these two have possibly been? How likely is it, months after the fact, that any data extracted from this phone is worth a damn?

    Much like in the case of the Patriot Act, people are being told to give up their own freedoms, or protection of those freedoms (in this case privacy and speech), in the name of “safety”. Giving the government MORE power to gather, collect or force data out of the hands of private citizens and corporations is NOT the direction in which we should be going.

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    • I understand the points, but the fact is that there is a lot of fear mongering and unjustified assumptions that are being tossed around here. The All Writs Act is valid law. This is not a tech issue, but a legal issue. I’ve already responded to the other arguments you’ve made here in the article. A company can’t refuse to obey the court’s based on what they think the FBI “might” do in the future. This is a standard criminal investigation request. Apple is going to lose this fight, in my opinion.

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      • While I understand your point, I think the fundamental difference in our opinions originates from our divergent views on law/government. I view privacy rights, along with other civil rights, as being entirely unlimited, and any incursion upon them as an exercise in tyranny. The Federal government does not have the right to engage in activities that it would not allow a private citizen to engage in, and is only able to do so by the liberal initiation and application of force.

        Also, and this is not meant in any way to be disrespectful, but the creation of this backdoor into the iPhone is not so simple as writing a piece of code. I work as a software analyst, and while I do not personally design and build code, many of those that I work with do and have helped me gain some insight on the matter from a technical aspect. What they are demanding of Apple is in fact a sort of “master key” that could be used on any phone or computer device with only minor modification, as the requirements for such a tool would be impossible to restrict effectively. The entry method they are demanding would be designed to break their own encryption, and any limitations on this (to make it specific to this particular phone) would be secondary to the actual functionality of the “key”, not intrinsic to it.

        All due respect, I simply don’t think that such concerns constitute fear-mongering, but rather a rational, justified dread of the implicit risks involved in folding to the “Law” in this case. Might does not make right, and in this case the FBI is throwing its legal weight around in an area it ought not. Though this is, of course, my subjective opinion.

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    • Very interesting article, and I agree, it certainly is feasible to comply with all of these requests; it’s the wisdom of doing so that concerns me. If everyone involved is above being corrupted, and it can be guaranteed that, once it has been created, no one will abuse their access to it, or that the value of it on the black market is not sufficient temptation for those that might handle it… Unless it can be guaranteed, then by all means, they should comply. If it cannot, and it holds the potential to compromise the privacy of millions of people… well, that is another story altogether. Although, given your views on the law, you may very well disagree with me on this point, and I certainly respect your right to do so.

      I would add that if this were something that could easily and securely be accomplished, without compromising the security of every Apple device, why fight it? Why not look like the “good guys”, fighting terrorism, upholding justice, etc.? Certainly there are more people out there that would be satisfied with a simple explanation of a technical problem than otherwise (most people are not particularly well-educated on this front, and even fewer genuinely seem to value privacy – a plausible, irrefutable explanation for why they have nothing to fear from Apple would, it seems to me, leave the company better off than it was before). Bear in mind that the government has guaranteed payment for this access; if there is no real danger, what does Apple stand to gain by resisting?

      We should ask ourselves, I think, what is the track record of the government in regards to data security and compliance with both the law and respect for civil liberties? Not great, by a long stretch. The timing of this, and the value of the information vs. the risk of creating the means to obtain it, seem completely disproportionate. As I mentioned before, the critical time to retrieve this information has come and gone; anything that might be stored on this phone is going to be out of date at the very best. What do they really stand to gain from this? Especially now that the case has become such a public one; the idea that any potentially helpful information will still lead anywhere once it is concluded, that those who might be exposed will have remained ignorant of this unfolding story, is nonsense, in my opinion.

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      • You definitely bring up good points, man. Commenter Daniel Taylor (in the ROK comments section) did an excellent job poking holes in the government’s case.
        I am now very curious to see how this plays out. My guess is that the courts will order some sort of compromise that gives the FBI the info they need, but also preserves the security and good name of Apple. I’m sure there are many ways to do this.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, and yes, a compromise seems most likely, the longer it drags on.

          Love this site, and just found you on YouTube as well. It disgusts me that people like PewDiePie have millions of subscribers come to watch them react like infantile morons to video games and such, while channels that generate content with actual value are so woefully under-subscribed. This may be cliched, but: Keep up the great work.

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