Apple versus the FBI

apple_fbiIn the last few weeks we have seen several reports regarding the struggle between Apple and the FBI on the issue of accessing the private information on an Apple iPhone.  I am amazed that people are so naïve to believe that allowing the FBI access to the private information locked in the iPhone 6 used by the terrorists in the San Bernardino attack a few months ago is a good idea.

Let’s first take a look at what might be stored in the iPhone used by the terrorists.  The FBI claims that the iPhone would have additional information regarding the attack.  What is there to know?  The two terrorists were shot and killed shortly after the terrorist attack.  Additional information regarding the attack would be useless to convict the perpetrators.  They are already dead.

The iPhone might help the FBI figure out how the terrorists planned the attack and who else might have helped.  It seems that a teenager with an average IQ could have planned the attack.  Just get some weapons or explosives which the terrorists did not use, walk into a venue with a few dozen people and start shooting killing as many innocent people as possible.  Repeat. If the FBI cannot figure that out the USA is in serious trouble and need to fire their top management.locked_iPhone

Regarding who else was involved seems like the only possible reason to unlock the iPhone.  The way we are led to believe, our society is based on justice and no one involved in a crime should be left unpunished.  We should first look at our political system and go after politicians.  If history is of any use, we know that terrorists tend to use a very small and constantly changing network providing them assistance in committing their heinous terror crimes.  Most of the network disappears and disbands shortly before or after the attacks.  The direct promoters and supporters do not live in the USA.  They are based in the Middle East.  What we should think is how to neutralize all terrorists’ activities in that part of the world.  Easily said but the USA is not able to get that done.  Specifically, unlocking an iPhone would not help at all to catch the people involved, which at the end is not too important as being able to prevent further attacks.  Keep in mind that terrorist are constantly changing they tactics.  Bin Laden and his group of terrorists attacked the USA using civil aviation planes.  The terrorists carried a successful attack.  The USA is spending billions of Dollars securing airports.  What are the odds that the next massive terrorist attack will use airplanes?  Very low and it is not because of the billions spent in security but because it has already been tried and the element of surprise is gone.

us-spy-fake-towerWe have heard about Edward Snowden, the defense contractor that went rouge and released thousands of documents exposing the illegal activities of the US government.  I do not agree on Snowden’s methods but strongly agree that the US government is out of control spying on US citizens, foreign friendly governments and using cyber weapons to attack nations.  The USA is looking quite similar to China where privacy is almost nonexistent and civil rights are out the door.

It seems that unlocking the iPhone used by the terrorists is useless, or not.  It is a fact that the US government is collecting huge amounts of data on all citizens in the US and abroad.  Governments around the world have secret pacts to share information and techniques.  Of course all of that benefits private companies that grease the palms of politicians to get juicy contracts to provide, maintain and operate the spying infrastructure.  So with all the billions of dollars spent on infrastructure to eavesdrop on phone calls, emails, video chats, social networks, etc. how is that the iPhone used by terrorists is of any interest?  The simple and correct answer is NONE.

If the FBI wants to find out who was in contact with the terrorists using the Internet the iPhone would not have that nsa_spyinginformation.  Not only that, but the FBI and allegedly get to it by records stored by the government when they spy on all of us.  I would like to state the obvious.  The iPhone, the Android or Cortana to name a few, do not store conversations.  The only thing the FBI would find is the list of contact numbers used by the terrorists.  Mr. James Comey, allow me to offer a simple and faster approach to finding out such information.  Get the itemized bills from form the phone carrier used by the terrorists.  They have a list of incoming and outgoing numbers and the amount of time spent per call.  That metadata in conjunction with the huge amount of illegal data collected by the government should be more than enough to figure out all what is needed in this dead end case.

In reality we all know what the government is after.  They are not interested in this case.  They are interested in being able to better spy on worldwide users of iPhone devices for their secret and personal reasons.  The San Bernardino terrorist attack is just a way to trick naïve people that the FBI is just trying to protect US citizens and Apple is not cooperating.  This same technique is used by politicians to convince voters to elect them.  We all know that politicians will offer empty promises in exchange for votes.  The FBI is just using such successful approach with naïve US citizens.

Apple could go ahead and provide a backdoor to their phones if they are foolish enough to fall into the trap.  The fact is that once the backdoor is there all governments, large companies and the bad guys all over the world will use it to spy for their benefit.  And as we know corruption is common from the top of the government down to local politicians and law enforcement officers in small towns.  Apple and the rest of companies that handle personal data (i.e., Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) should keep encryption strong and without backdoors.  If Apple unlocks the iPhone chances are they will lose market share.

prosperity_for_allSpying and eliminating privacy is a bad thing to matter what the initial reaction is.  Look at all terrorists’ attacks perpetrated in the US by US citizens and foreigners.  With the billions of dollars of tax payers money not was prevented.  In retrospect they all could have by using different approaches that have nothing to do with spying and privacy.  If people would not hate the USA we would not have acts of terrorism.  If people living in the USA would have access to mental healthcare it would prevent acts of terrorism.  If people would have the same opportunities for education and success there would be no acts of terrorism.  If we could neutralize terrorists and prevent the false need for them, attacks in the US and all over the world would be a thing of the past.

Logic indicates that changes are needed and for political reasons they are not enacted.  Giving the government more was to spy on US citizens is not the solution.  It just foments another set of larger problems.

Long live the iPhone!!!

The Naïve American

PS:  I do not own an Apple phone.  I have owned Android and Windows phones.  Currently I use Android.

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