Justice Department Upset over Apple Encryption

Apple encryption means the company cannot hand the Feds real-time interceptions of text messages.

The headline in the New York Times reads: “Apple and Other Tech Companies Tangle With U.S. Over Access to Data.”

In an investigation involving guns and drugs, the Justice Department obtained a court order this summer demanding that Apple turn over, in real time, text messages between suspects using iPhones.

Apple’s response: Its iMessage system was encrypted and the company could not comply.

Government officials had warned for months that this type of standoff was inevitable as technology companies like Apple and Google embraced tougher encryption. The case, coming after several others in which similar requests were rebuffed, prompted some senior Justice Department and F.B.I. officials to advocate taking Apple to court, several current and former law enforcement officials said.

Wow. The Feds are frustrated being denied information about guns and drugs. I know how they feel! Ever since Obama has used executive privilege and Eric Holder has done all he can to obstruct any investigation into Fast and Furious, many Americans have wished they had better access to information for an investigation into guns and drugs!

Perhaps God has a sense of humor!

In the meantime, though, there is no point in taking Apple to court unless they are lying. They didn’t say they refused to turn over the text messages. They said they could not do it.

So the only case to make against Apple is that making unbreakable encryption is somehow illegal. If that were true, then what would happen to Apple’s market? The new buzz over the iPhone is long gone. The only way Apple (or Google or any tech company) keeps their market share is by delivering to customers a product that they want.

The next question: Is there no legitimate reason to desire good encryption? Obviously there is. We see high-profile hacking stories in the news all the time. We are constantly told of cyber attacks. Companies have all sorts of legitimate, non-criminal reasons to want secure communication and data-storage.

So what would happen if the United States government made it illegal to offer such security and privacy to customers? Obviously, other companies (located in another country) would begin offering customers the privacy and security that American companies were prohibited from offering.

In fact, we would start to see American talent start to flow out of the country to places where their full talents could be used more profitably.

Some Justice and F.B.I. officials have been frustrated that the White House has not moved more quickly or been more outspoken in the public relations fight that the tech companies appear to be winning, the law enforcement officials said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private conversations.

But Obama can’t afford to completely alienate Silicon Valley and, more importantly, all the customers they represent.

In fact, this is a case where corporations, instead of working with government to control people, are operating in the free market as advocates of the rights of people. This is a case where “the system” is working as it should.