Sum of all fears: Amping the scary up to 11

Macalope

You know what this iPhone unlocking case has been missing so far? Bogeymen.

Not boogie-men with the medallions and hairy chests and silk shirts unbuttoned down to their navels and their smooth, smooth dance moves. But bogeymen with the fear and the heart palpitations and the…

Yeah, it’s too bad it’s not the former.

Writing for Huffington Post, George Washington University professor Amitai Etzioni has his bogeymen all in a row.

“Apple: Profit to Trump National Security.” (Tip o’ the antlers to oatmeal33.)

News reports that were almost completely ignored by the American media indicate that a considerable amount of radioactive material went missing in Iraq.

And… it’s in an iPhone?

I wonder what Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, and all those who cheer him on, would say when this bomb is set off in a major American city…

The Macalope wonders what Etzioni and… well, is anybody cheering this guy on? No, so the Macalope wonders what Etzioni would say when millions of iPhone owners have their phones compromised by nefarious parties, which could include police officers trying to hack into their girlfriends’ phones.

Also, clearly there is no other way to stop a nuclear attack than unlocking a smartphone. That much is obvious. If only Apple did not ship that Find My Nuclear Bomb app. Really don’t know what they were thinking with that.

…and a major reason the FBI was prevented from stopping the attack is that Apple provided the terrorists with a completely secure communication tool.

Is there a Godwin’s Law for invoking a mushroom cloud? No? Well, whatever, it’s not like anything bad ever came as a result of nuclear scaremongering, right?

Moreover, Apple's lawyers and PR machine launched a campaign to convince the public that it should be allowed to continue to sell its phone with the new encryption powers to all comers all over the world.

Encryption is only for party members.

The campaign is using what is known as "throwing in the kitchen sink”…

As opposed to the very staid policy of threatening vaporization.

The 4th Amendment does not state that the government may not "search" phones, homes, papers and persons; it merely bans "unreasonable" searches.

And we can all agree that any search of your iPhone would be considered reasonable. It’s not like you don’t publish your texts, your banking records and the location data for your friends and family online anyway.

It’s only the location of your nuclear arsenal you keep on your phone.

Apple argues that this matter should not be decided by the courts but by Congress. This is obviously a disingenuous proposal because it is very well known that Congress is so polarized it cannot attend to most anything.

It’s not like we can expect Congress to do anything. Or law enforcement. Clearly only Apple can save us from nuclear annihilation.

The aliens really can’t arrive too soon.

Apple fears that if it decodes one phone it will be called upon to decode many others. However, its army of clever lawyers surely can point to special circumstances that exist in the case at hand and hence decoding this phone will set no precedent for decoding others.

Apple’s lawyers will simply use what I like to call “lawyer magic” to make the entire concept of legal precedence go away.

The Macalope wonders what it must be like to have a world view that includes terrorists who blithely leave the location of nuclear bombs on their work phones at precisely the moment after their last iCloud backup and lawyers who don’t have to work within all those inconvenient laws.

Seems like it might be like an acid trip.

However at the end of the day it should not be up to CEOs seeking to maximize profit to have the final say in matters concerning high risk to public safety.

Apple asked that Congress clarify the laws an you said we can’t expect Congress to do anything. Now you’re blaming Apple for trying to make public safety policy.

The Macalope’s not really sure who Etzioni thinks does anything.

Apple is not above the law.

Neither is the FBI. What the FBI is trying to do is invoke the All Writs Act, an act designed to cover situations in which there is no existing legislation. But there is existing legislation. And if the FBI can simply invoke the All Writs Act any time it wants to regardless of other laws, what can it not do?

Read the decision by Judge James Orenstein in the New York case in which the DEA and FBI demanded Apple unlock an iPhone in a drug case (but, remember, this is all just about that one phone and terrorism).

If the government cannot explain why the authority it seeks here cannot be used, based on the same arguments before this court, to force private citizens to commit what they believe to be the moral equivalent of murder at the government's behest, that in itself suggests a reason to conclude that the government cannot establish a lack of unreasonable burden.

That’s a mic drop, right there.

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