Okay, I’ve not been following the case, or the story surrounding it with much interest, but it has my attention now.
We should all be VERY concerned with the result of Apple vs FBI in San Bernadino, CA.
In a nutshell, the FBI and the California State Government is trying to force Apple to create a version of iOS, the operating system used on all Apple mobile devices, with a backdoor in it, so the government, or anyone else with the know how, can access data on a device with said operating system more easily. Why? Because a “terrorist” implicated in the shooting on December 2nd 2015 had an iPhone that was password protected. The government has subpoenaed Apple to supply the data in question. Apparently, that’s not good enough. They now want to be able to access this data, on their own, without having to go through Apple.
There is a laundry list of issues with this, the biggest of them being that if the government wins this case, it will set a precedent that would allow the government to compel a business to act in a manner counter to its own interests, for the express benefit of the government. This will have direct effect on the privacy of public consumers of almost every business that’s owned and operated on American soil.
Think about this for just a moment. Consider the implications of this. Privacy, or at least the illusion of privacy, is one of the key features of a free society. One should be able to do whatever one chooses within the privacy of ones home.
Now, the use of public services, such as telecommunications networks, blurs the lines of privacy somewhat, because we must agree to comply with the terms and conditions of use as set by the provider. In most cases, the providers do not hide the fact that they are collecting data on you. You don’t have to like that fact, but you also don’t have to use their services. Simple, right?
Well, not really. In cases where a crime is either committed, or planned, via the use of one of these services, the government has the power to subpoena said provider to hand over any and all information pertinent to the case. The provider may challenge the subpoena, but they must also have good reason to do so. Thanks to the Patriot Act, maintaining the privacy of its users is now secondary to “National Security”, so most of the time, providers just gather the data requested and hand it over. No fuss; no foul.
So why is this case different? Well, for one, as mentioned earlier, the government (in this case, California State) is trying to force Apple, a company that holds a HUGE share in the mobile device market, to give them access, via some kind of backdoor installed in the software itself. Let me say that again: They are trying to FORCE Apple to do something extremely unethical for the sake of “National Security!”
This would allow them to then force other players in the mobile market (Google, Samsung, Motorola, etc) to provide similar services in their operating systems, also. Privacy will be a thing of the past.
Which brings me to the next concern: Privacy!
Should the government win this legal battle, you can pretty much guarantee all your privacy is literally, and figuratively, gone. Like completely. The government will now have total, unfettered access to everything you say and do at all times. For the moment, at least, the service providers stand in the way. This case will determine if they get to keep that power, or not.
As it stands, the government, at all levels, can invade your privacy in multiple ways. One of the most intrusive is the tax system. If you are found to be not complying with this forced taxation (make no mistake; it’s forced!), the government takes it upon themselves to rifle in every facet of your private life to determine exactly what they think you owe them in taxes. Every story I’ve ever heard of a tax audit is one of humiliation and a gross invasion of privacy.
Just two or three years ago, it was found that the NSA had been collecting phone data of millions of innocent users in the hunt for supposed national threats. None were found. How long this had been happening is yet to be determined, but make no mistake, this is a direct result of the Patriot Act.
We should all be watching what happens in San Bernadino with baited breath. We stand on the precipice, holding the final shreds of our privacy in our hands. If the government wins this case – bye bye privacy.
Are you paying attention yet?