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The Government Can Search Our Very Homes

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Randy Paul Oetinger
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Every last one of them. Anytime they want. Easy.
One of the most common comments I am seeing, what truly concerns people about if Apple gives the FBI a 'backdoor' into this one now famously contested smart phone, is this: "Then they will be able to get into any phone at will."
And that is true - as long as they have a warrant.
However, what people do not seem to be acknowledging is that prior to 2014 no smart phone, including those sold by Apple, had this strong encryption algorithm, the one making it impossible for the FBI to execute search warrants on the latest iPhones.
Which means exactly this: The government already had this capability - to "break into any phone at will" - just 2 years ago, and every year ago prior to that. Apple will not be granting the government a new capability; Apple has taken away a constitutionally sanctioned capability the government previously had.
As far as I am aware, this was not a problem for anybody 2 years ago and prior, except for people under suspicion of criminal activity. I didn't hear about people having any problem with the FBI hacking their phones and causing them any trouble except for criminals, in which case authorities exercised a search warrant.
The FBI isn't hacking into my phone. First of all, why would they care about my Words With Friends activities? Also, I hear they are busy. But mostly, it would be against the law for them to do that without a warrant.
Nor is the FBI breaking into my home. They could, for sure, any time they want. Easy. But they don't without a warrant.
Nor is the FBI tapping my phone. They could, for sure, any time they want. Easy. But they don't without a warrant.
Now, let's say I follow the same line of reasoning as those siding with Apple. I should be indignant that the FBI can tap my phone at will, right? If they can tap one phone, they can tap any phone and listen in, perhaps even record the conversations. When you stop and think about it, that is pretty outrageous. Can you believe the government breaks into houses and searches them? Truth. If they can break into one house and search it, they can break into any house and search it, right?
What is the difference? In every case it is a huge, horrifying invasion of personal space, and in every case they are required by law to have a warrant. Of course investigators may break the law and overstep, but we already face that tension with the authorities in almost every facet of our lives. What is more personal than entering our homes, taking items as evidence, and tapping our phones?
So, since we refuse to trust that the authorities are following the law themselves, since we don't think they have the right to invade our personal space, we should make sure that the government cannot tap phones anymore, right? We don't want them listening in on our conversations, do we? And we should make sure that the government cannot search our homes anymore, right? We don't want them entering and looking through our stuff, do we?
Before you know it, following this logic, investigators cannot collect any evidence, justice isn't happening (because how can it happen without evidence?), criminals are doing grave damage to us and getting away with it, and every aspect of domestic tranquility is placed in peril. We lose all of our freedoms if we cannot prosecute law and maintain justice. Search warrants are an absolute necessity, which is why the founding fathers thought of mentioning them.
I am calling it: Tim Cook and Apple, along with the other tech giants, will lose this battle. If there is established a place where evidence of illegal activity may be safely hidden - 100% secure - then criminals will use that place. Surely. Certainly.
Why wouldn't they? All of that evidence would be of no value for prosecuting their crimes - a criminal's dream come true. Crime would increase dramatically, evading our capacity to both prevent it and prosecute it after it occurs. It is inevitable, like gravity, that what I have just said will come to pass if we take away the capacity to execute search warrants on private property as the Constitution prescribes.
Remember: Before 2014, all of the things people now say they fear about the government and their smart phones were already true, and the only ones that frightened were paranoid people and felons. Since the 18th century the government has had the power to enter our homes, and for decades they have had the power to tap our phones. Every last one of them. Easy. Any time they want. All they ever need is a legally binding search warrant.
Thank God! How else can they uphold the law? It will be perilous to introduce a huge black hole into which criminals may hide all of the evidence, with no hope of recovery. Society simply cannot allow that, and as crime inevitably happens and goes unsolved and unpunished due to a lack of evidence, society absolutely will not allow that. If criminals and terrorists are allowed to do as they wish with pristine impunity, the quality of all other law-abiding lives will gravely and inescapably degrade.
I'm close to certain about this: Apple will lose, sooner or later. Indeed, Apple must lose.

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