Recently Apple announced that it would start encrypting all of it’s mobile devices in a very interesting way. Apple has said, “[We can’t] bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants... [for] data from devices... running iOS 8.” And that is a huge F-you to the US government. And let's be honest; the government has been doing more than saying F-you to tech companies.
Let me explain:
As it stands, what we are told is the NSA and FBI needs a FISA court order to request user information from Google, Apple, Yahoo or other companies. FISA was created after the Nixon administration spied on Americans. Out of the 33,949 cases the court has heard since 1979, 11 have been denied.
That is not a court; that is a formality. And even beyond that, The Fisa Amendments Act of 2008 made it so FISA did not require individualized targets to approve surveillance programs.
Rep Barbara Lee Makes some good points about the FISA amendment act of 2008 before it was voted on.
- Rep Barbara Lee - “I rise in strong... opposition to this very terrible bill. It does not strike to proper balance between protecting national security and preserving our cherished civil liberties. Now I know how important those protections are from personal experience with unwarranted domestic surveillance and wiretapping during the J.Edgar Hoover period. The Government's infamous cointel program ruined the lives of many innocent persons. Others, including myself had their privacy invaded even though the posed no threat to national security. We all remember how Dr. King's family were the victims of the most shameful government sponsored wiretapping. WE must never go down this road again, yet here we are again. This bill undermines the ability of federal courts to review the legality of domestic surveillance programs. It provides de facto retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies. It does not sunset until 12/31/2012. How can we do that? Four years is way too long. A good bill will protect Americans against terrorism and not erode the 4th amendment. This bill scares me to death, and I urge a no vote.”
This is seriously who we need representing us. But it wasn’t enough:
- President George W. Push “today I am pleased to sign landmark legislation that is vital to the security of our people. The bill will allow our intelligence professionals to monitor the communications of terrorists abroad while respecting the liberties of Americans here at home.”
To be honest, I think Bush believed that what he was doing would help, but what we have found out is the government is very good at expanding reasonable liberties beyond their original intention.
Let me get back to the point; how the government has burnt tech companies. The FISA court is at best a formality. More recently with the Edward Snowden leaks it was revealed that the NSA had been tapping into Google, and Yahoo clouds to collect and siphon unencrypted data traveling between the companies private servers on private lines. What is even crazier is that Google and Yahoo said they had no idea this was happening.
So to say that tech companies have been burnt is an understatement. Basically, tech companies kept their front door locked, but didn’t worry about their windows on the 2nd floor. Then the FBI comes along and crawls through the window to see if your neighbors left any evidence about crimes they were doing. A warrant was never produced to break into the private house, but supposedly one exists but is classified so you can't see it. Then one day you find out they are coming in your house, So you lock the window, because you don't want the government to know how small your Penis is. It's proportionate to my body size and average to my ethnicity. We have been over this many times Kate, and no this pills aren't working, so we are just going to have to get used to it.
The government is abusing their power and taking advantage of your privacy without very little legal backing and bringing up very painful issues.
That is exactly why Google and Apple are encrypting their end users phones and throwing away the key. Because they can’t trust FISA, they can’t trust Congress and they sure as hell can’t trust the FBI or NSA.
- Jay Strubberg NewsyTech “A Chicago police chief told the Washington Post ‘The average pedophile is probably thinking, I should get an apple phone.’ and on Tuesday a former FBI investigator also writing in the post said the new privacy rules will create needless delays that could cost victims their lives.”
That is a really good point, and the Director of the FBI actually gave specific examples:
- “In Louisiana a known sex offender posed recently as a teenaged girl to entice a 12-year-old boy to sneak out of his house to meet this supposed young girl. The predator posed as a taxi driver; he took this young boy, murdered him and tried to alter and delete evidence on both his and the victims cell phones to cover up the crime. Both phones were instrumental in showing that the suspect enticed the child into his taxi and that suspect was sentenced to death this year.”
- “And lastly I mentioned was it has been used to prosecute, it has also been used to exonerate innocent people. In Kansas data from a cell phone was used not long ago to prove the innocence of several teens accused of rape. Without access to the phone or the ability to recover a deleted video from that phone, several young men could have been wrongly convicted.”
Those examples are huge, and it makes complete sense to me why the FBI and NSA want access to our data. Honestly, I think they had the best intentions when collecting it I do, but things have gone too far. We are being forced into a corner where we have to take away the power a court has because we cannot trust that court. And because of that, the bad guys will get away, and innocent people will go to jail.
We all know that freedom is not free. We have to make a choice; do we care more about safety or freedom? Now I know a lot of you are going to say, “Josh what if someone is holding a gun to John Connors head? What will you choose then?” I will tell you right now; I am choosing safety every single time because I love that kid. I am not going to make a rational discussion. I am not going to make the right choice. A nation that thinks like allows small freedoms to be eroded every day. That is all it takes; simple liberties removed for safety and we are on the path to totalitarianism. Nazi Germany was Totalitarian, so a nation that takes safety over freedom risks putting a Hitler in power.
And don’t think we don’t already choose freedom over lives. 33,000 people die every year from drunk driving. If we forced every driver to take a breathalyzer test before driving, nearly all of those would vanish, but we are not comfortable sacrificing that freedom. Why then, are we comfortable sacrificing so much freedom for fantoms that kill much, much less than drunk drivers?
To take it one step further, killing people is not the goal of terrorism, it is the means to the goal of dismantling our government and way of life. The truth is, terrorists want us at war with them. The reason is, well, James Madison said it best, “ No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Officially we have been at war with terrorism since October 7, 2001, but let's be honest, it has been going on a lot longer than that.
Additionally, what is the end game? When have we won the war on terror? The answer is never. Terrorism has and will always exist.
We are at a point where we can't trust the court system to provide appropriate warrants. I want to believe in the court system, and I want them to be able to access information for convictions of the worst criminals. I just don't think I can trust the courts to do the job the way that is consistent with our constitutional rights. Closed doors make it a lot easier to bend the rules.
- FBI Director James Comey - “ I believe that people should be skeptical of government power, I am. I think this country was founded by people who were, who knew you could not trust people in power. So they divided power among three branches so you could set interest against interest. And then they wrote a bill of rights to ensure that the paper and effects of the people were secure from unreasonable searches.”
I love the sentiment of security, but I do not believe that I am safe from unreasonable search and seizure. I do not believe that my information is safe from the government. The FISA amendment act of 2008 proves to me that the government has no interest in protecting personal information if they feel it is anonymized in bulk data. We are not secure from unreasonable searches.
- FBI Director James Comey “I suggest that it is time that the post-Snowden pendulum be seen as having swung too far in one direction, in a direction of fear and mistrust.”
I agree with the idea that we have swung too far in the direction of fear and mistrust. But we have spent our entire lives believing we had a reason to trust. The burden of producing reason for our trust is on you James Comey, and the NSA, and the President. We have reason to mistrust. Give us a reason to trust.
- FBI Director James Comey - “Some have suggested that there is a conflict between liberty and security. You have to give a little of one to get the other. I reject that framework. I think when we are at our best in law enforcement. In national security and public safety, we are looking to enhance security and liberty.”
I think Ron Paul can explain this better than me. Here he in the a presidential debate regarding the Patriot Act.
- Ron Paul - “I think the Patriot Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty. I am as concerned as everybody is about terrorist attacks. Timothy Mcveigh was a vicious terrorist. He was arrested; terrorism is still on the books internationally and nationally is a crime, and we should deal with it, we dealt with it rather well with Timothy Mcvey. But why I really fear it is because we have drifted into a condition we have been warned against. Our early founders were very clear, they said don't be willing to sacrifice liberty for security. Today it seems to easy that our government and our congress are too willing to give up our liberties for our security. I have a personal belief that you never have to give up liberty for security; you can still provide security without sacrificing our bill of rights.”
- Newt Gingrich “Timothy Mcveigh succeeded; that's the whole point. Timothy Mcveigh killed a lot of Americans. I don’t want a law that says after we lose a major American city we are sure going to come after you. I want a law that says if you try to take out an American city we are going to stop you.”
- Ron Paul - “This is like saying we need a policemen in every house a camera in every house because we want to prevent child beating and wife beating. You can prevent crimes by becoming a police state. So if you advocate the police state, yes you can have safety and security and you might prevent a crime, but the crime then will be against the American people, and against our freedoms and we will throw out so much of what our revolution was fought for. So don’t do it so carelessly.
So that is the choice. How many lives are worth freedom? We sacrifice 33,000 for drunk drivers, but we’re not scared of drunk drivers. We’re scared of terrorists, which is exactly what they want. I believe they want us at war with them for because they know war will continue to remove our freedom. I believe this is more calculated than we think.
I am honestly scared of the next terrorist attack. Because, and I mean this with as much respect as possible, we only lost about 3000 people from the 9/11 attack. Look at how much freedom we lost for 3000 people. How much freedom would be lose for one million, or even 50? At this point, any terrorist attack would be successful because it would only accelerate the speed at which we give up our freedom, and that is the point of terrorism.