Lawful conduct: Using the courts is not being above the law


Do people just not understand how the law works? Is that the problem?

Writing for the Financial Post, Diane Francis sees through Apple’s crass marketing scheme disguised as protecting their customers’ privacy. Which they also happen to be trying to do.

“Apple Inc is protecting your privacy? No, it’s putting itself above the law.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Craig Ferry.)

Ha, can’t it be both?! LOL.

No, Apple did not gleefully declare that laws to do not apply to it, as it floated two feet in the air while using its perpetual motion machine to create headlines that can be answered “Yes.”

(Gravity, Thermodynamics and Betteridge is the name of the Macalope’s law firm.)

What Apple did do was have its lawyers argue that what the FBI was asking it to do was unlawful. Indeed, in a similar case in New York, a judge denied a motion by the government to force Apple to unlock an iPhone. So, it’s not exactly like their expectation is entirely unreasonable. Quite the contrary.

It seems Americans trust their tech companies — led by Apple Inc. — to protect their privacy.

They shouldn’t.

Like Uber but for creating straw men. There’s a difference between blithely trusting them and being on the same side as them in a fight.

The company’s stance was not heroic, it was commercial based on marketing promises that its phones were secure and no one could ever get into one.

They did not say that.

But is there a marketing aspect to Apple’s stance here? Of course! But so what? The iPhone is still demonstrably the more secure smartphone and Apple demonstrably the company that cares more about privacy. Apple a) making phones that are better at protecting your information and b) marketing them as such are — surprise! — not mutually exclusive. They are the opposite.

It’s ironic that the people chastising Apple for this are the same ones who think the company should enter into a Mephistophelian secret arrangement with the government and then mislead its customers about it.

Now Apple not only looks like a bad corporate citizen for balking at helping a terrorist investigation, but its brand will be harmed after the phone is hacked.

People keep saying this like it’s somehow going to be true but it’s not. There’s a reason the government hasn’t sued any Android manufacturers to get them to unlock their phones: They don’t have to.

Most people would agree that public interest trumps commercial or privacy concerns, especially involving terrorism.

Most people would roll over and give up all their rights in order to gain the illusion of safety!

Yayyyy, society. Bra-vo. Certainly something we should cheerlead.

In essence, Apple has put itself – and its profits – above the law.

Starring Steven Seagal and… wait, Pam Grier was in that? Ugh. You can do better, Pam.

Again, simply repeating your false contention that flies in the face of legal precedent does not make it true.

Now it’s time to throw the many things against the wall in order to see which of said things will stick.

Apple, and others, outsourced manufacturing to a Taiwanese company that exploited millions of Chinese workers.

What is the message here? We’re supposed to trust the government instead? Surely the government has never done anything of questionable morality. Like, say, in Asia.

The labor problems are well-documented. Apple is arguably doing more than any of its competitors to ameliorate them but, yes, they’re still bad. That does not, however, make the company wrong on privacy issues.

It’s downright shocking that a company would refuse to cooperate with law-enforcement officials.

So, whatever the feds ask Apple to do, the company should simply ask “How high?”

Once again the horny one will quote Judge James Orenstein:

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.

The Macalope would make a “just following orders” comment here but he does not consider himself above Godwin’s Law.

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