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Lent 2016: February 24, Day 15 -Apple’s New Time Machine

There are so many things in the world one could get riled up about, so many injustices. One could spend every minute of every day outraged about very legitimate causes. You have to pick your battles or you'll go crazy...

Case in point, for some reason, I have become genuinely outraged at the Apple vs. FBI issue regarding the iPhone owed by the terrorist who shot up San Bernadino, Ca.

If you were just to look at the surface issues, odds are in favor of me being for the FBI. I love the FBI, as well as most other federal law enforcement agencies. I'm a law and order kinda gal. I hate terrorists. Not a particularly radical opinion to have, but there you go. And, I don't have particularly positive feelings for Apple. I've owned a MAC, but my husband has a particular bias against them and it's worn off on me. If nothing else, I think the child labor issues probably should have tarnished their image more then it has...

So how is it that the law enforcement/true crime groupie has come to side with the terrorist-protecting, multi-billion dollar child labor corporation?

The FBI wants to see what's on the terrorist's iPhone (and another 14 phones connected to other, unrelated crimes by the way). This seems reasonable. Even if the terrorists weren't dead, they waived any privacy rights they had. But the problem is twofold, once the phone was entered into law enforcement hands, someone changed the password, somehow-- no one seems to be able to nail down  (or take responsibility for) how that happened--and now they are in the position that if an erroneous password is entered the phone will wipes it own contents in a Star Trek, self-destruct extravaganza.

That sucks. there might be some important information on there about contacts, their network, the other men seen at the house in the weeks building up to the rampage. Or maybe information about where they got the incredible stash of weapons. Great information to have. Bad guys might be caught, terrorists acts prevented, lives saved. Amazing. All from cracking one creep's phone.

The problem. The FBI can't get in without the self-destruct mode kicking in.

So they went to Apple and asked to get in the back door of the phone. Apple said they didn't have that capability, and then, this is important, they offered several other suggestions of ways they COULD help.

The FBI said, "Nope, we want the back door. Go build one." and they got a court order to back it up. The court order is based on the extreme public interest that would be served by intruding on a private business, because San Bernadino was such a horrific event (plus whatever crimes the other 14 phones are attached to).

This is all logical. So logical that I read earlier today that a recent polls shows that half of the country thinks Apple should comply and build the back door into the iPhones.


And this is important.

Apple is a private fucking business.

And the back door to the iPhone does not currently exist.


Once the back door exists, every iPhone owner is now exponentially more vulnerable. Not just to the government (which has terrifying ramifications), but  also to anyone who can take advantage of a back door.

It is mind boggling to me that the government would:

a. Be willing to admit, in a very public manner, that they are incapable of making the back door themselves.

b. Conscript (Read: slavery) a private business into innovating something that requires effort, IP, AND goes against their conscience.

It got me to thinking, what else would half of the country agree that the government could force a company to do, for the good of the people? And it dawned on me. A time machine. The FBI should force The DeLorean Motor Company to hand over their remaining inventory to Apple. Then they should get a court order to show how the public interest would be served if Stalin and Hitler never ruled, so they couldn't have killed a combined 30 million citizens, not to mention the millions who died on the battlefield.

See where I'm going with this?

Apple owes us a time machine and assassins to kill Baby Stalin and Hitler.

As mentioned above, Apple doesn't have the best record for child welfare, but they may be a little squeamish about murdering two children. This is irrelevant. Public interest. National Security. What's one man's or one company's values or conscience when weighed against the millions of lives that could be saved?


I wonder what other atrocities and harm we could wrought in the name of public good and national security? What other privacy can we trample? How much innovation can we wring from our current tech companies so that we can avenge ourselves from terrorists and (and least 14) other bad guys? Dare to dream of this bright future.

What could go wrong?


Now, it's 3:30 in the morning and I've now been up for hours obsessing about something that I have no control over, or ability to influence. But thank God (and my husband) that I have a blog so I can try to capture my thoughts and finally get back to bed.

I am grateful for that.

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