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How Apple is saving our rights, and why the FBI has no business in our phones

If you’re not paying attention to what Apple is currently doing in defiance of the government, or you don’t recognize what this means, you need to listen up.

On Feb. 16, in an open, transparent and honestly sincere letter to its customers, tech behemoth, Apple threw the doors open on a potentially constitution-altering operation that the FBI has asked Apple’s participation in.

CEO Tim Cook informed Apple users that the government wants them to develop a new iOS that, in non-technical terms, would leave a backdoor to iPhone encryptions wide open. This not only leaves the door cracked open for the government to look into our personal information, it blows the door wide open.

This was in response partially to the San Bernardino shooting when FBI agents wanted to access the shooter’s phone but could not due to Apple’s encrypting.

The letter cites an old piece of legislation the FBI is abusing to let them bypass Congress, so they aren’t required to ask legislative action. Cook goes on to say that this, the All Writs Act of 1789, is a fallopian tool that could be used to handicap U.S. citizens and allow the FBI to abuse its advantage.

“The implications of the government’s demands are chilling,” Cook said. “If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data.”

Not only would the FBI be able to sneak into our iPhones and other devices, but also highly knowledgeable hackers and other cyber criminals could easily get into your personal data. This is a breach into our individual rights as U.S. citizens, and it is encroaching dangerously close to being unconstitutional.

“The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge,” Cook said.

Emily Reynolds, the president of Eagle for Liberty, the FGCU branch of the SFL said the FBI’s intentions may be good, but the act could lead to damages.

“It’s an interesting case,” Reynolds said. “Apple makes a strong defense both consequentially and ethically. If it is true that this would create a master key, the possibility of abuse could lead to dire consequences for millions of iPhone users.

Apple has a responsibility to protect its customers from data mining and mindless actions of the government. If we let the FBI trounce on our phones like it’s constitutional, we’ll soon be living in an Orwellian future where there really is a big brother watching, and Apple is trying to do something about it.

“Morally, it stands at odds with the ethics of privacy and contract,” Reynolds said. “Apple has made a promise to its customers to protect its data, and to break this contract opens the door to the possibility of hacking and stands at odds with ethical business practices. If Apple understands that this back door is dangerous and has otherwise been cooperative with the FBI, they probably have very good reasons for not wanting to open Pandora’s box.”

About The Author

Luke Janke

Luke Janke is a super senior studying journalism at FGCU. When he’s not listening to podcasts, he’s busy producing his own podcast, Full Pulp. Concerts and music are at the forefront of his horizon, and when there’s an ounce of free time you’ll find him in his home studio laying down tracks for his music project, Bull Moose Party. As a self-proclaimed nihilist, his affinity for death is emphasized by the authentic squirrel skull found on his desk in the newsroom.

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