No Government Break-ins to Phones

Debra Sweet | Feburary 23, 2016

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Thanks to our friends at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation we've learned of Tuesday's rallies against the federal court ordering Apple to break the encryption on its I-Phones, citing one particular case of a phone linked by the FBI to the killings in San Bernadino. 


According to the ACLU, the order:

conscripts Apple into government service and forces it to design and build what is, in effect, a master key that could be used as a mold to weaken the security of an untold number of iPhones.

The resulting order is not only unconstitutional, but risks setting a precedent that would fundamentally undermine the security of all devices, not just the one iPhone being debated in the news.

Techdirt: explains that "Apple is being pressured to write code that undermines an important security feature, and will probably have little time to debug or test it overall, meaning that this feature it is being ordered to build will almost certainly put more users at risk."

ACLU: "This debate is not about one phone—it’s about every phone. And it’s about every device manufactured by a U.S. company. If the government gets its way, then every device—your mobile phone, tablet or laptop—will carry with it an implicit warning from its manufacturer: “Sorry, but we might be forced to hack you.”

Since Edward Snowden revealed the scope of the U.S. governments' surveillance of vast populations, the NSA has essentially won, with no serious opposition at any level of government to curb its access to every bit of data it seeks.  Most reports show that Apple, and all the other big tech companies, have provided whatever information the government asked for. 
So Apple's sudden refusal, backed up by other companies and privacy organizations, to accede to the government's demands is unprecedented.

We cannot fail to make the connection between government surveillance of everyone, and its pursuit of illegitimate wars on the world, particularly in the Middle East. The biggest lie of all from the government defending its security apparatus of more than one million people, is that it's done to "keep you safe." 

Last week, spontaneous protests of support outside Apple stores expressed support for their stand. There are protests of the government's order at 30 or more Apple stores this Tuesday February 23.  We urge you to go.

From Shahid Buttar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation: "The day after the order was issued, users congregated at the Apple store in San Francisco to voice their support of the company's stance against FBI demands to undermine security for everyone. Next week, similar gatherings are planned in cities across the country, and at the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, organized by our friends at Fight For The Future with transpartisan support from numerous organizations including CREDO, Demand Progress, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee / Defending Dissent Foundation, Downsize DC, and others."