The US Justice Department escalated its standoff with Apple today, filing a motion to compel Apple to create software that would facilitate the Federal Government’s breaking the encryption of an iPhone in the possession of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple has argued that no one could depend on being secure from the prying eyes of government should it comply with the Federal government’s orders. Wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a letter to customers this week, “in the wrong hands, this software – which does not exist today – would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”
The Justice Department’s counterargument appears to be that this is a special case and they can be trusted to never use this “key” to our iPhones again. But ironically, this heightened encryption feature was incorporated into iPhones in response to revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the federal government had been illegally spying on American citizens. Apparently we are supposed to trust them this time.
In its filing today, the Justice Department (DoJ) ridiculed Apple’s concerns that being compelled by the government to create software to hack its own products would set a horrible precedent in a United States that still has a Fourth Amendment. Apple’s objections were not at all based on principle, the DoJ sneered, but rather “Apple’s current refusal to comply with the court’s order, despite the technical feasibility of doing so, instead appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy.”
How dare Apple also show concerns for its shareholders and its market!
Further ridiculing Apple in its filing today, the arrogant Justice Department mocked Apple, stating that, “this is not the end of privacy.”
It is clear that the government is determined to declare on Apple for standing up for the Constitution. The attack will be bipartisan. Already we heard neocon Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) slander Apple as, “the company of choice for terrorists, drug dealers and sexual predators of all sorts.”
In a chilling move, Congress appears on the verge of passing legislation that will turn the private sector into slaves for the government. Writes The Hill yesterday:
Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) – the Senate Intelligence Committee’s top two members – are working on a bill that could force companies to comply with court orders like the one Apple rejected.
The federal government promises that this is a special case and they will never, ever ask again for a backdoor into Apple’s products. But we already know they have been planning for years to demand this kind of power and have waited for the San Bernardino shootings to produce the right kind of atmosphere to demand additional spying power over Americans. This whole chapter has been one deception after another.
Are we supposed to believe the government will not demand another peek into an iPhone the next time a mass shooting takes place? And then what about a lesser shooting? And so on?
One thing is for sure, we can depend on the mainstream media to dutifully do the government’s bidding in this or any future power grab. They demonize Apple and anyone who supports our privacy. It is something like the Soviet press’s dutiful demonization of Tito after his split with Stalin.
Once government has that power they will never give it up. Anyone who believes otherwise has not been paying attention.
Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity. Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.