Hit & Run

My data is safer with Apple than with a government

Which side are you on? Government spies or corporate guardians?



The court battle between the Apple and the FBI over the agency's demand that the company auto-hack an iPhone used by the San Bernardino murderers continues. On one side stand those who evidently believe that government should have the right to force infotech companies to install "backdoors" into their products so that its agents can spy on folks. On the other side are those of us who think that giving government agents the ability to rifle through our private information will not improve our security, but could imperil our liberty. A quotation reported in today's Washington Post nicely summed up the situation. 

Community organizer and iPhone user Charles Wade, 33, who runs Operation Help or Hush told the Post:

"It's funny, but I feel my information is safer with a corporation rather than a government."


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  1. "Operation Help or Hush".

    In other words, "do what we want or shut up".

    1. d: Interesting nevertheless that a self-described SJW would say what he did in this case, no?

      1. However, it seems to be wistful in tone, as opposed to any sort of evidence of a dawning awareness.

      2. Oh, it's great. But it brings to mind, in regards to both the activist and Apple, something I've thought for a while. You can't always count on human kindness, but you can always count on human self-interest. Charles Wade is clearly confused by the concept while also embracing it in practice. A great example of claimed preferences versus revealed preferences.

      3. No, because Apple is a "special" company to people like him.

  2. In this particular case, isn't it more accurate to say that neither the government nor Apple has this information (the password to unlock the phone)? FWIW, that's the way I prefer it.

    1. This is correct.

      I believe that they want Apple to make a whole new version of iOS that suits their needs.

  3. But who knows what nefarious machinations huge info-hoovering operations like Apple or Facebook or Google have going on behind the scenes. They might be biasing your opinion in favor of certain products or opinions without your even suspecting it. Next to that, who cares if the government intel community assembles secret dossiers on every citizen? At least they're not trying to sell you anything.

    1. The outrage at companies collecting your data so that they can *gasp* sell you something!!!!1!1! is an outrage I cannot understand.

      Companies don't want to put you in rape cages.

      1. You don't know that! That's why we need more regulations and oversight, to make sure that data is protected and available to the government, because... um, safety.

        1. We need more regulations and oversight to make sure the right companies ? those that donate to the right politicians or are large enough to control the regulatory boards ? are selling you something.

      2. Only because they haven't found a way to profit off of rape cages.

      3. Commerce is inherently coercive in a way that government isn't. This is what many progs actually believe.

        1. Companies force you to work for them because you need money to live.

          On the other hand, the government doesn't force you do things because they have police with batons and guns.

      4. You are blind to the dangers of Big Rape.

    2. Corporations can use the data against you in ways that you wouldn't expect, including using seemingly innocuous data to raise your insurance prices. Even if they just use it to advertise, I still don't want them having my information. Furthermore, although this is ultimately an issue with the government, many corporations share the data with the government.

      The government is far more dangerous than any corporation, but do not make the mistake of thinking that corporations are harmless.

  4. It's funny, but I feel my information is safer with a corporation rather than a government.

    BREAKING NEWS: Community Organizer's Worldview Rocked

    1. Don't worry, in a few days, he'll forget he ever thought such a silly thing.


    2. I don't know, I mean, some of those government officials have their own server in their house. What could be safer?

  5. Which side are you on? Government spies or corporate guardians?

    Government spies, because they will not only keep my data safe from outsiders, they will use my data to keep everyone else safe. It is so simple!

    1. Also, government spies will use their power only when needed and not abuse it or let others do so. The talking heads on TV this morning told me so.

      1. Plus, the gummint has the guns and if you don't agree, they'll kill you.

  6. Assume for the sake of argument that there is a finite number of software developers who are capable of doing this. What if they all refused?

    1. Then government does what it does best: ratchet up the violence until one of them complies or all are dead.

      1. Then government does what it does best: ratchet up the violence until one of them complies compiles or all are dead.

        I'll be here all week.

    2. National Security Emergency?

    3. Problem is, the premise is false -- they aren't a hive mind, the views of some surely align with the govt, already.

      1. in my own past as an engineer, I have declined to support requests from government agencies. whether the executives of my employer subsequently complied is something I have no way of knowing, of course, but conscientious objection has to start here.

    4. I think Apple has admitted it likely has the engineering knowledge to do what the government wants; it just has chosen not to go down that path due to the dangers of having that code floating around, even in an extremely secure environment (living on a government server somewhere doesn't count as "secure").

      1. Wasn't The Fappening break in done through a law enforcement backdoor?

        1. i think it was something to do with password resetting, it was an apple thing not LEO thing if I remember

  7. That photo is a re-enactment of a former Disney star defiling the environment, right?

  8. @Ron Bailey

    Iran researcher: GMO imports 'a Zionist plot'

    I always knew you were in the pocket of Big Kosher.

  9. This should be common sense, but it's frightening how many people don't understand that the government is the one with the monopoly on violence.

    1. They get it, but they think democracy makes it OK.

  10. Metaphor?
    Hammer Stone? Hammer Marble?
    The closest I got is irresistible force immovable object. I hope it's not that, because those objects have nowhere near those properties.

    1. Never mind. Image was too small on my display to see it's an iPhone.

  11. It's funny, but I feel my information is safer with a corporation rather than a government.

    One man's "funny" is another man's "blindingly obvious," i guess.

    1. Your information is safer with a bipolar ex girlfriend with Tourette's.

      1. Sounds hot.

        1. Does she demand a back door, too?

  12. "It's funny, but I feel my information is safer with a corporation rather than a government."

    That companies serve the interests of their customers better than government shouldn't be surprising to anyone.

    The problem with representative democracy is that it's insufficiently democratic. Being a customer is direct participation, and having the ability to not participate at all with a company is extremely effective at getting what you want, too. It's hard to refuse to participate in the government.

    They keep demanding a chunk of my paycheck regardless of whether I want to participate in their evil plans.

    1. But try explaining that to progressives and you're smeared as wanting plutocracy with rule by the rich, despite that being exactly how democracy works. You get a vote, they get access.

      1. And yet when those progressives are confronted with a problem like needing a new garbage disposal installed, I bet they don't wait for the next election cycle to vote for a progressive politician.

        They go to Home Depot and see if there's a garbage disposal on sale.

        1. We don't need 23 choices of garbage disposals.

  13. The US government's ability to protect the personal information of some of its most important personnel has been shown to be completely incompetent. Who in the world will trust them with a backdoor key into every phone in the country?

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  15. The other big tech companies' silence on this issue is frightening. It may force me to give up my Android for an iPhone.

    1. Google's CEO just stepped up to support Apple. Admittedly, after being shamed by Snowden.

    2. On android there are 3rd part tools that allow YOU to control encryption keys.

      1. Wouldn't you have to jailbreak the phone to ensure their effectiveness?

    3. The issue is that iPhones use proprietary software, so they can't exactly be trusted in the first place.

  16. My data is safer with Apple than with a government
    Which side are you on? Government spies or corporate guardians?

    No third option?


  17. Neither. I dont use any encryption tools in which I dont control the keys.

  18. "Which side are you on? Government spies or corporate guardians?"

    This choice makes me want to go be a hermit.

  19. Since the device in question is completely locked without the needed password, no software can be added to it to break the encryption. It would require a hardware device, an iPhone with no drive and with the "wipe on too many unsuccessful attempts" routine removed. The existing iPhone would have to be opened, and its hard rive removed and placed in the new device. If Apple built such a device, to be used only in extreme cases like this, that would not be something that could get into the hands of the "hacking" community. Of course, I suspect that Homeland Security or the FBI or NSA is already capable of building such a device on their own, and since they have possession of the encrypted device, it makes me wonder what the fuss is about, and what they are really asking for in this case.

    1. They want Apple to provide it, so they can reverse engineer it and distribute it to police departments, the CIA, the NSA?

  20. Oh please, your private information isn't "safe" with anyone. Corporations exploit information you give them all the time. Remember: if you're not paying for a service, you're not the customer. So yeah, your information is "safe" with corporations. Whereupon it'll get sold off to the highest bidder who will find some ingenious new way to monetize it.

    The government, on the other hand, has no interest in monetizing your information. Their interest is in scrutinizing everyone to have an easy fall-back when/if they need to pin someone for something. Fact is, unless you're an interesting person (and most of us aren't) the government doesn't care about your searches, your facebook, your porn history, etc. Your privacy is "safe" with the government because they don't actually care about you.

    So stick to the new old rule: if you can't afford to have something posted publicly and attached to your name, don't make it/write it/record it/whatever. Because while my money in the bank is insured, my reputation is not.

    That said, if Cruz really thinks that Apple could build a single-purpose program/device that would unlock *that* phone and no other phone, then he's either an idiot, ignorant, or purposefully lying to pander.

    1. Fact is, unless you're an interesting person (and most of us aren't) the government doesn't care about your searches, your facebook, your porn history, etc.

      How reassuring. As long as you're not a jouralist, one of the rare politicians who challenge the status quo, a dissident, a whistleblower, an activist, extremely unlucky, or someone who makes a joke that the government misinterprets, you'll be fine. That's not a chilling effect at all. And my privacy is never truly safe until the government stops violating it, even if they do not use the information for anything.

      The thing is, even if it were absolutely certain that the government would never come after you as an individual, it would still be extremely foolish to not be worried. For one thing, you should be concerned about the people who are being abused. This viewpoint that it doesn't matter as long as you're not the target is very selfish. Further, since privacy is an important tool for all the types of people I mentioned above, challenging the government in any fashion would get very difficult. No meaningful change can happen if the people best able to make that change happen are all being killed, imprisoned, abused, and/or blackmailed by the government.

      Mass surveillance, as well as this war on encryption, is very dangerous, even if you are not the government's target.

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