1984… 1993… 2016.
I remember seeing the Apple commercial back in the day when it came out that depicted 1984 as the catchy advertising plot point for the Mac computer at the time. If only Woz and Jobs has known just how prophetic those images would be today. I remember too back in 1993 when the idea was floated and a governmental movement began to have a back door (aka a clipper chip) inserted into systems to allow access by the government *cough NSA cough* to be able to see the “evil doers” and stop them. I also remember the sane stopped that from happening. Well, that was then and this is now, well past 9/11 and nigh on 16 years later, we are faced with not only a government toying with the idea again but a federal body demanding through writ of law that a company break the system they have created for what is being touted as the greater good.
Friends while I agree terrorism is bad (I was there a day after 9/11 and worked with the red cross there) I have to stop short at believing that the GWOT needs for us all to give up ALL semblance of personal privacy to fight the terrorists. In fact, I would like to call bullshit on the FBI’s and Comey’s desires to break the systems of cryptography for an alleged boon to the fight on terror. It has become clear that the director of the FBI is not a tech guy and does not understand crypto very well but that is no excuse to continue to leverage the courts to try to induce a company to break it’s system for one phone let alone the notion that this one instance would not be re-used and re-packaged to do so again whenever they (the FBI) liked. This is precedent time, not just a one off issue with a terrorists phone that may or may not have any data on it concerning other actors who may have radicalised Sayed Farook and his wife.
Clearly we are at a precipice here in our digital democracy that has been building for some time. I have attended more than a few seminars by the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the 4rth Amendment and the digital domain and I have to tell you we are all behind the 8 ball on this one with the way the government lawyers tend to think. I have seen people compelled to give their passwords against the 5th Amendment as well and folks it’s time for you to be rather concerned about this. This is the time to really fund the EFF and to bone up on your own rights where these matters are concerned. It is also time for the cypherpunks out there to double and triple in numbers. I hate to say it but I will put it in the common derpy vernacular that is all the rage now…
We are all at cyber war.
When you are at cyber war with a nation state you will lose.
Now, the US and the FBI are becoming the definition of a Nation State Actor. Though, not on a foreign nation. They are targeting you too.
Over reach by the FBI has been a thing for a long time and if you just Google it you will be able to read quite a lot about it. Now consider all of the machinations of the TAO and all of the legal wrangling their lawyers have done to make what they are doing rationalize as legal. Remember John Yoo? Well you should and if you don’t Google him up. It’s easy for lawyers to fuzz the legalities and the moralities into an ethics-less pile of phrases that only allow them to get away with things. I am going to guarantee you now that if this order goes through and Apple is forced to back door the iPhone at a base level, it will be re-used and it will be abused just like the use of STINGRAYS have been lately and it won’t stop there. Once the precedent has been set in law, the legal bar has been set and then it is just a matter of how long until the rights we all have been granted in the US under the Constitution get even more eroded by slick ideas and arguments by those with an agenda of fear.
Honestly, if you look at the history of the terrorism that has occurred these people are known quantities already and that is without the use of back doors or breaking hacking and negating rights. This is not a crypto issue but more so a law enforcement issue of not being able to keep up with their own databases. Please people, don’t buy into crypto being a clear and present danger to you and yours. Crypto is no existential threat, instead the abuse of the laws we have on the books is. Ordering Apple is just the next worst step on the slippery slope to becoming that which we have seen in the 1984 commercial.