Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Apple, Privacy & Fools

I've written a lot of blog posts, and believe me, not all of them were tremendously popular.  As soon as I've expressed my usual, iconoclastic views, those whose tolerance runs at lower levels either unsubscribe or write hate letters.  I'm okay with both.  It's the ones who have no opinion I lament the most.

This is one of those posts. I'll probably tick some people off, but if you can stand the rationality, I'd advise your sticking with it, at least to the end of this piece. Then, if you really think I'm out of line, well, I'll see you around.

In the meantime, what I have to tell you may come as a shock, especially if you're the type who gets his news and information from social media like Faceboook and Twitter.  It only gets worse if you only watch lopsided "news" shows on FOX or MSNBC without balancing them off each other.  If you're an American, this may bother you; if you're a young American, this will blow your mind.

As you probably know by now, in 2015, a couple of radical muslim terrorists decided to kill off 14 or 15 of their co-workers in the offices they shared together for five years in San Bernardino, California.  There's no question that the married couple were guilty.  Plenty of eyewitnesses and victims can attest to that.  The couple can't weigh in, because they were killed by a volley of police bullets when they refused to be taken peaceably. 

Along with an infant child, the couple left all kinds of compelling evidence, including their now famous iPhone, whose contents at the time of this writing remain encrypted by Apple's wundertechnology.  The FBI wants Apple's help in decrypting the contents of the phone.  Apple is steadfastly refusing, citing the dangerous precedent of "unlocking one person's phone means unlocking everyone's phone."   Within moments of Tim Cook's announcements, thousands of Apple fanboys rallied to Apple's defense, citing their own right to privacy.  For a minute, that seemed to make a lot of sense, until one realizes a very compelling, sobering fact:

In America, there is no such thing as a right to privacy.

Forget about whether you think Apple is aiding and abetting known terrorists.  Put aside the fact that an iPhone is no different than a file cabinet or a safe deposit box.  For the moment, think about the Constitution of the United States and how nowhere in that document is there anything even remotely close to a citizen's right to privacy.  Nothing. 

What you will find in the Constitution is the prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure.  But if you read that carefully, that doesn't mean the government can't search you or seize your possessions.  It means that it can't be unreasonable about the searches and the seizures.  That's it.  So you have to ask yourself this question:  How unreasonable is it to search the contents of a proven, guilty, dead terrorist/criminal? 

There's a reason the Founding Fathers wrote it the way they did:  The Constitution was adopted when the nation was still young and very vulnerable.  The government needed a balance between personal liberty and attacks on those liberties from within -- very much the same situation we now face with "moles" planted by radical muslim terorists.  However, even the pursuit of those terrorists is accorded the concept of reasonableness.  That's why prior to the cops raiding your residence, they have to find a judge who will sign a search warrant.  The Feds and police can't just barge in and take what they please.  The judge has to sign a warrant attesting to the fact that the search is reasonable and not arbitrary or illegal.

There's nothing in that warrant, by the way, that mentions anything about privacy, because privacy is not a right.

There's a lot of editorial out there bemoaning the entitlement of the younger generation.  One needs only acknowledge the candidacy of Bernie Sanders to see proof of that.  Another aspect of the Sanders campaign is its reliance on a lack of education, especially the way it fuses its advocates' wants and needs into a standard of rights.  But they're not rights.  They're wishes of people who have no education or knowledge about the Constitution. 

And while they may wish privacy were a right, it isn't.  It never has been.

I'm sadly bemused by the temerity of an armchair billionaire like Tim Cook, who prances about, merrily posing as the protector of free speech and privacy, when in fact he's doing nothing more than spinning a danger to the Republic for his own marketing purposes.  There was a time when this country valued its collective responsibility to safeguard its citizens.  We looked after each other because we wanted to, not because we were told to.  Those days, apparently, are over.

Today, it seems perfectly fine to send a soldier to his death to protect your freedom.  What you can't do is crack open a terrorist's iPhone, because, you know, that would infringe on a right that nobody in America ever had to begin with.


Blogger eydryan said...

Definitely an interesting opinion Rob, and while there are parts of it I agree and disagree with, I'd like to present some food for thought: what if this whole thing is just some marketing bullshit to show Apple as this paragon of security and integrity, only to hide the real amount of compliance they normally offer to law enforcement, governments, etc.

6:02 AM  

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