Apple is Right, why?
The latest breaking news came from APPLE’s defiance of FBI demand and a California court order to help crack an Apple phone used by terrorists. It seems like the crowded GOP contestants for nomination to be the next resident of the White House is not noisy enough, the FBI vs. Apple war has just started. This time, it was the FBI that has just fired the first shot at American liberty.
Apple announced in a CEO letter to the world that it cannot possibly assist the government because once the Apple source code is open, it can be used again and again, not just by the FBI or the U.S. government, but by any government authority in the world. In this heated discussion over privacy and liberty, Apple is right by sticking to its own user policy. Apple CEO Tim Cook – as patriotic as he may or may not be – is pushed to a corner with his back against the wall. It’s NOT a one device, onetime event that the simplest minds may assume. It’s a huge philosophical discussion that will have long lasting impact on the American lives. Breaking one phone could have the same far reaching impact as breaking 30 million Apple phones by governments from all over the world. Proud Americans cannot and should not take their American liberty lightly. Liberty is intangible. Once you lose an inch of it, you will be forced to give up more. Americans should fight for their liberty as much as the NRA gun owners gripping tight to their guns. Liberty is deeply embedded in every American’s heart and spirit. Apple’s Tim Cook did just that.
For Apple, technology can’t be held hostage to politics
The duel between the U.S. government and Apple centers around a simple concept: Once the Genie is out of the box, you can’t put it back in. In other words, the Apple source code is either forever sealed, or the “devil of disclosure” will doom Apple’s existence as a business. Apple is in the business of selling products and should not be embroiled in either philosophical or political debates in a presidential election year.
Let’s presume the Court in California has fully vested the FBI’s requests to extract data out of two terrorists that have killed 14 Americans. Every person on earth with the right mind should have no problem denouncing such atrocious acts of killing innocent people. And in response, everyone should support the FBI’s efforts to crack the phone used by the terrorists.
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At TheBlot Magazine – Voice for the Voiceless (millions of readers a year), we applaud the FBI’s diligence in keeping America safe. However, as we all know it, the world is not simply black and white: The world has 195 countries and every country could demand the same disclosure from Apple for alleged law violations of their citizens. Such demand could very likely come out of a purported court order from a dictatorial state that demands the data. Then what would you do if you were Apple? What if a foreign government data request goes against America’s national interest, whether security or economic? Do Americans or the U.S. government want Apply to comply with demand from hostile foreign governments? For most policy makers, the answer is a delicate dance between “no” and “maybe”. Why is the double standard justified?
Benjamin Wey is a leading American expert on China with almost two decades of experience doing business in Asia.”For an authoritarian government like China, unlocking the Apple secret code is an open invitation to many government actions that are contrary to American values,” said Benjamin Wey.
China expert Benjamin Wey: “The debate is not just about a ‘selfish’ business decision for Apple. It is a real national security concern for the U.S.”
Apple is a technology company and science is neutral
Albert Einstein’s “Theory of General Relativity” can be applied to this case: The FBI is presumed to be the “good guys” and the damned terrorists are forever doomed in hell. No one has any issues with that. However, what if the Russian or the North Korean regime demands the same disclosure from Apple in order to spy on some of their citizens fighting for democracy? Should Apple give in to such demand, which could be in the form of a local court order – issued by a Russian or North Korean court?
Technology is blind and should be treated as such. Science takes no political side. Apple is and should be a neutral party between liberty and security when it sells its products to its customers from all over the world.
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A diplomatic solution – most likely behind closed doors will resolve the FBI vs. Apple dispute. During the process, every regime in the world will be watching closely. Whether we agree or not, once Apple opens the “Pandora’s box” – Apple product source code, all hell will break loose. The Chinese government is already hyper sensitive about Apple collecting user data from Chinese users, which is the essential reason behind the Chinese government’s decision to block Facebook from entering the vast Chinese marketplace.
If Apple complies with the U.S. government demand for user data, the Chinese, the Russian, the North Koreans, the Iranians or even ISIS can demand the same. It’s a frustrating balancing act between liberty and privacy; between FBI and Apple. When the dust settles, the winner in the end is the consumer. We should welcome and celebrate this open discussion.
Why is Apple right, the “ham sandwich” theory, the doctrine of the “dumb Jury”
In the complex American society, there are law abiding citizens and law violators.
“The law itself is subject to interpretation and is often murky.”
The legendary New York State chief judge Sol Wachtler once famously said that “a grand jury would ‘indict a ham sandwich, if that’s what the government prosecutors wanted.” Was the California court properly informed by the FBI? Was the FBI agent who had made the sworn affidavit to secure the court order properly trained? Did the FBI hide anything from the judge? Did Apple hide anything from the court? We don’t know the answers. We Americans cannot give the government a free pass to our liberty. There are plenty of government imbeciles – often hijacked by fake media that run our government like mad cows. Liberty is fought and earned. Generations of Americans have died for it.
Are nuclear weapons good or bad? Is the nuclear power good or bad? Is gun ownership good or bad? The right answer is perhaps “we just don’t know what the right answer is.” It all depends on who has it, who uses it, who is injured and who benefits from it. Right?
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Apple’s interest is undoubtedly self-serving. Apple wants to grow its customer base. In giving the FBI the middle finger, Apple may be applauded for standing up for itself and for its customers – 7 billion human beings whom Apple depends on for its existence. For the human race overall, both fortunately and unfortunately, science is blind and should be treated as such.
Apple is right.