Oh, The Hypocrisy

Did Apple really claim it’s protecting the privacy of iPhone customers?


It’s almost impossible to find anyone hasn’t heard about the privacy case chest-thumping going on between Apple and the FBI, as well as a few other federal entities. And by now the interview with Tim Cook and David Muir is quite public, as well.

So how come, all of a sudden, Apple, Microsoft (although Bill Gates did come out on the government side) Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and countless others are all coming out in support of Apple and advocating staunch protection of privacy? After all, they have been violating privacy for years, watching where people go, what they buy, when they buy it, where they eat, what they eat…need I go on?

Apple refuses to unlock a phone to allow the FBI to see what is on it, claiming that would put millions of devices at risk for hacking. Yet for years Apple and the rest of these companies have been snooping around our computers, phones and tablets. And not once did they tell anyone that is what they are doing (other than burying it so deep in the EULA no human could possibly stay awake long enough to find it).

And behind the scenes they are developing the ability to capture even more data – Big Data. These same privacy advocates will take this “Big Data” and analyze it 37 million ways from Sunday. Next, they sell it to any number of retailers and marketers. Yet, at their convenience, they have all seemed to reverse their philosophies over this. And no one is calling them on it.

It’s not that the government is totally clean, either. They have been snooping on people for hundreds of years! But at least they admit it when they get caught (most of the time, anyway). Every one of my professional contacts in the silicon business has told me the same thing, and more than once. There isn’t a piece of silicon, an app, code, networks, or systems that can’t be hacked, given enough resources (meaning, time and money). A security expert noted that the government can easily hack that phone before the failsafe 10 tries is exceeded and the phone wipes the critical data. But the price tag is about a million dollars, using zero-day vulnerabilities. Considering the government wastes that much money every few minutes, this clearly isn’t about the money.

And about Apple’s position on establishing legal precedent, along with the 2014 change in its OS makes it so Apple can’t get into your phone via a backdoor – it is true that Apple says it cannot compromise the keys that are in its phones. And the way it handles the keys supports that, turning them over to the user and dropping out of the key chain. But another source who designs cryptography chips says that every chip manufacturer keeps a doomsday hack that can be used to access their chips if it becomes absolutely necessary.

But this is a special case. The FBI doesn’t want this data because it’s bored. So could this be one of those epic government vs. corporations battle? Is Apple testing the water, under the guise of privacy, to see if a company has finally become more powerful than a government? And is the government looking to assert its power and rights to protect the people, at any cost? It’s an interesting case, regardless of what’s behind it.

One of source says it is about the government bullying Apple. Had they asked nicely, Apple would have been more than happy to help. Personally, I doubt that. But nearly everyone has a position on this. Mine is that I want Apple to cooperate. Why? Because what if your family was a victim of this atrocious crime? Wouldn’t you want the law to have every tool at its disposal to find out the facts, and punish the guilty?

In the end, there likely will be some uber-secret agreement between Apple and the government, which unlocks the phone and still lets Apple and the government save face. But you probably won’t know about it for 50 years.

What’s your position?

  • realjjj

    This is not about a single case nor is it about just privacy, security is more than just privacy. The FBI is trying to take it out of context and claim that it’s just 1 case but that is very transparent attempt to mislead. Everything has context.Today they force Apple to do a targeted custom OS update and tomorrow they force everybody (hardware and software) to do custom anything and spy on all users or just international users.
    How does any American technology company do business overseas if the government can force them to alter products, targeted or mass.

    Oh and you missed the Pentagon supporting encryption and laws that are not rushed based on a single case. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-military-technology-idUSKCN0W406R
    In the end, vulnerable consumer devices are a national security risk when it comes to smartphones ,devices that people use today to get informed and communicate.

    “Wouldn’t you want the law to have every tool at its disposal to find out the facts, and punish the guilty?”
    Really? Every tool? How about CCTV in our homes or we could all wear geo-fencing shock collars? Maybe some mandatory mood stabilizing pills too. There needs to be a reasonable balance ,what you want is beyond ridiculous. This lynch mob mentality instead of reasonable solutions is not helpful.

    And don’t confuse the law with the law enforcement agencies. Maybe this quote from A Man For All Seasons will inspire you:

    William Roper:
    So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
    Sir Thomas More:
    Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    William Roper:
    Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    Sir Thomas More:
    Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!