Well, actually everyone is missing a few things regarding the fight between Apple and the FBI.
First, in case you’re living under a rock, to recap what the fight is over. One of the San Bernardino shooters had an iPhone that was issued to him through his job, a county agency. The FBI would like to look at the data on the phone, as it might contain information valuable to tracing the terrorists movements, finances and communications prior to the attack. This is not an unreasonable thought. It seems as if the FBI crossed all their legal T’s and dotted their Constitutional I’s, even getting a warrant for the search. Unfortunately, the FBI is incapable of getting past the security measures Apple has built into the iPhone’s operating system. So they went back to court and obtained an order that compels Apple to bypass the phone’s security. Apple is refusing, citing privacy concerns.
That’s the 10,000 foot view of the issue. And were it that easy, I don’t think Apple would put up this much a fuss about it. The problem comes about once you drop down and look at the issue up close. And the reason everyone is freaking out, I think, is they don’t understand the technology or how it works. They only know that it works – which, of course, is what makes Apple’s iOS so successful.
That’s the first thing that everyone is missing: nobody actually understands what it is they’re complaining about. For a guy who’s worked in software development and mobile tech, it would be comical if the stakes weren’t so high. Everyone just assumes that Apple can magically give the FBI the phone’s unlock code. It isn’t that easy. The iPhone’s encryption is integral to iOS – the only way to get past the unlock code is to break the encryption within iOS. To comply with the FBI’s request, Apple would have to write a software program that would alter the way iOS functions. In essence, they would have to destroy their own product.
That’s the second thing that everyone is missing: the government’s order would require Apple to blow up their business model. One of the reasons, perhaps the biggest reason, Apple has been so successful is they’ve stuck to a simple proposition for over 20 years. That proposition is that their software and hardware live as an integrated unit. Form and function, together as one. To make that happen, Apple’s products have always worked with proprietary, closed operating systems. The underlying code is not available to the general public. The FBI is asking Apple to do the exact opposite of what they’ve always done. To write code that opens iOS to the public domain; in essence, to allow anyone with minimal code writing ability to alter the way iOS (and thus, the iPhone itself) works. Is that reasonable? Can the government actually require a private firm to fundamentally change the way they do business, create products and market them?
The next thing everyone seems to be missing is that the government has massive signals intelligence infrastructure. It includes the NSA, CIA, DIA, as well as the FBI and 12 other agencies you might not have heard of. A major part of signals intelligence is code-breaking. By demanding Apple break their encryption, the United States Intelligence Community is announcing to the world they are incapable of cracking the code themselves.
The Director of National Intelligence’s counterparts in Beijing, Tehran and Moscow must be laughing themselves silly at the admission.
Now, this might sound ludicrous, but it seems to me that a government that spends $4 trillion every year can come up with $600 to buy an iPhone and have one of their ace code-breakers get past the iOS encryption. If they can’t, then we need to seriously ask why people aren’t being fired.
Finally, the last thing everyone seems to be missing is what having the iOS code broken and in the public domain would mean for privacy and security in the digital age. This isn’t like asking for the key to a locked room. The reality is that most of us have our entire lives on our phones. Everything from sensitive financial data to our Facebook profiles live in the bits and bytes of data stored on them. The government is asking Apple to provide a tool that would allow everyone access to everything stored there. Additionally, if your one of the millions of users who’ve stored things in the cloud, that data would also be available to anyone with a $10 NFC reader and 30 seconds to get close enough to pull it from your phone. The concept of privacy would be moot.
It’s a lot to digest. But what many in the media and government want to portray as relatively simple is anything but.
Now that I have your attention…
You’ll have to excuse me, but it looks to me like the liberal loony bin that’s been in charge of things for the last quarter century has finally blown their last gasket. The saddest part of it is that so many of you out there are buying the idiocy they’re selling.
I’m referring to the argument they’ve put forth that we need to willingly rescind our rights in exchange for the presumption of safety. Never mind that there is no way to be “safe” in a world where there are close to a billion people who want you dead simply because you breathe. I’m not even going to bother shooting that argument full of holes. Anyone who thinks safety can be purchased by compliant subjugation should probably be killed, anyway. They’re already brain dead.
The latest attempt at subverting the Constitution (and, not so incidentally, the very principles the Nation was founded upon) comes in the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA. Before the smoke had cleared, the liberal vanguard was literally yelling about restricting gun rights. Never mind the facts – which as the hours wore on, made it increasingly clear it was a terrorist attack – the only thing the left saw was an opportunity to play on the understandable fear and revulsion the attack created. And the drumbeat has only intensified in the days since. Indeed, the quasi-communists in the media and government have hardly acknowledged the fact that it was a pair of Muslim jihadists who shot up that conference room. Instead, we get the President lecturing us about “common sense gun safety laws.” We get the flagship of liberal bias in the media, the NY Times, running their first page 1 editorial in 95 years, demanding that Americans voluntarily ignore the 2nd Amendment.
Perhaps no line in that op-ed better summed up the liberals derision of the idea of inalienable rights than this:
“No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.”
When I read that, I nearly puked. I’m serious. It made me physically ill. No right is unlimited? Rights can – and in the Times’ view, should – be regulated? Excuse me , but WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, over? This is still the United States, right? Is this still the country who fought for independence over the idea that rights are immutable and the entire purpose of government is to ensure they are neither limited nor regulated?
There is nonsense, and then there is dangerous nonsense. This type of misinformation is not only dangerous, but seditious. Don’t think so? Which other rights should be regulated and limited? Of course, we’ve seen other manifestations of this thinking since 9/11. There is the Patriot Act, subverting the 4th and 7th Amendments. We’ve had the Department of Justice arguing before the Supreme Court that 1st Amendment protections of religious practice should be subsumed to the greater good. Likewise, The DoJ has filed arguments against the free exercise of political speech. We’ve had this very President argue that the right to life doesn’t exist – he has the authority to launch drone strikes on unarmed Americans.
Enough is enough. A gun is nothing more than a machine built of metal, wood and plastic. A right is a permanent gift from God. If either of those concepts fill you with enough fear that you’re willing to become a midless drone, then you have no business calling yourself an American. You are nothing more than a lilly-livered communist wannabe and I am asking you – nicely – to get the fuck out of my country. Because quite frankly, if you’re that afraid of inanimate objects, you’re going to be too much of a coward to fight in the war that was thrust upon us. And if you’ve lost sight of the very principles that separate Americans from the rest of humanity, then you’ve lost the privilege of calling yourself an American.