Monday, February 22, 2016

US v. Apple

SUNDAY: Comey tries to downplay the dispute, arguing in his new statement that no precedent would be set if Apple would just go along.
"I hope folks will take a deep breath and stop saying the world is ending, but instead use that breath to talk to each other," he said.
"Although this case is about the innocents attacked in San Bernardino, it does highlight that we have awesome new technology that creates a serious tension between two values we all treasure — privacy and safety," he said, adding:
"We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly."
This sounds like capitulation to me. If this is now about the "victims," then the government made a serious mis-step in attacking Apple in the first place. However, the government's current position does not support a charge of "government over reach."
The issue of how far the government may go in coercing the unwilling and the un-involved to assist them in recovering evidence that they are otherwise entitled to is important and needs to be litigated. We should be glad that Apple is prepared to fight it. Perhaps not since Runnymede has the King had a more formidable adversary. However, this is not the right case to fight it on.
There is ample precedent for un-involved citizens to voluntarily assist the government. It would not be precedent setting for Apple to voluntarily assist with this one mobile in this one case. Apple should "declare victory and go home." It should do here what it can do and fight the government over reach issue when the government is more certainly guilty of it.

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