…the decrypting could be done on Apple property by Apple people — and the tool kept in Apple’s famously secure vault.
Yeah, sure. That’s exactly how it’s going to work. What’s the old saying? Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead?
Beyond that, as has been pointed out before, if the federal government wins this, the implications of such are quite staggering, especially if the compromised iOS (and let’s be frank, that’s exactly what this is) finds its way out into the wild. Even if it doesn’t, information security on Apple’s iOS devices will effectively cease to exist. Even if the feds let this tool stay securely in Apple’s possession, even if by some miracle of nature the backdoor to iOS was never found by bad actors, there’s still the matter of the NSA and its massive surveillance of real-time communications to deal with, and the concomitant potential of wholesale Fourth Amendment violations. If you’ll remember, that was what got the whole encryption ball rolling to start with. Harrop might well say that “the job of setting national security priorities has not been outsourced to Silicon Valley boardrooms” and that “(it) is a matter for our federal government,”but as I have said before, if the feds weren’t so gung-ho on spying on everyone in the first place, Apple might well not have been so gung-ho on making near-unbreakable encryption as a response to it.
And Harrop shows her cavalier attitude to privacy yet again:
U.S. tech companies and civil libertarians are supporting Apple’s stance. Nuala O’Connor of the Center for Democracy and Technology expressed some of the fears. Cellphones “have become effectively a part of our bodies,” she wrote. Hers has contacts, medical records, kids’ report cards, pictures and so forth. All the more reason not to carry all that around in one’s handbag, we might say.
So how far does one go with that line of reasoning? What of our possessions gets to have a reasonable expectation of security? And even that’s giving Harrop’s stupid analogy more credit than it deserves. The proper analogy would be having a locked handbag and anyone being able to get into that handbag, which defeats the purpose of having a lock. If one’s going to take Harrop’s approach to this, what the hell is the point of the Fourth Amendment in the first place? Are we really supposed to just place blind faith in the government to do the right thing?
Apparently Froma Harrop’s answer is, “Yes, we should.”