At first it’s easy to be on the FBI’s side and say, “Hell yes, I want to catch terrorists. Let’s catch ‘em and kill ‘em all! ‘Merica!” When you step back and take a long look at the FBI’s request to have Apple hack it’s encryption it’s easy to see the situation for what it is; an attempt that either intentionally or unintentionally erodes our privacy and ultimately our safety.
The FBI says the program they’re asking Apple to write would be used only the one time for the one phone. Guess again. The FBI doesn’t even know if there is anything worth finding on the phone, but once the code is written the FBI will find innumerable reasons and cases to use it. This is Pandora’s Box.
Not only will our privacy be violated, Apple will be forced to re-invent their encryption. Let’s pretend that Apple can do that instantaneously and for free (which they can’t). Once Apple makes their encryption safe again the FBI will have the precedent to force them to hack the new code too. What about other phone companies? Will the FBI decide next week it would be beneficial to hack their encryption too? Will it ever end? This situation would be detrimental to Apple and the citizenry.
The FBI is fishing and eroding our freedoms in the process. Their hearts may be in the right place (catching terrorists) but their thinking is not. The FBI has been investigating the couple responsible for the San Bernardino shooting for months. They’ve reconstructed their lives to the minutest detail for years before the shootings. At best, what they would learn from the phone might confirm something the FBI already knows.
How does Apple hacking isn’t own encryption for the FBI effect our safety? You think the FBI will be able to keep the program within the government? Not a chance. I’ve been sent many letters from the Office of Personnel Management telling me how to protect myself against breeches to the government’s data bases. As much as the government likes to think they keep secrets well, they don’t. Ship’s movements are top secret, yet every port I’ve ever visited serving on US Navy ships the bartenders know more about my schedule than I do. It wouldn’t take long for this program to reach criminals hands and once it’s there the list of what a criminal could do with such intimate details is infinite.
What’s the up side of the FBI forcing Apple to hack its own encryption? The FBI can’t answer that question because they don’t know. They’re grasping at straws and that’s not a good enough reason to give up our liberties. If the FBI gets it’s way it’s a lose/lose situation.