“We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications. While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
This past week, Apple CEO Tim Cook released an open letter to his customers, speaking out against unnecessary government intrusions and informing Apple customers that their privacy rights will be protected.
Ever since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the Fourth Amendment and privacy has been greatly compromised due to fear of repeated attacks. The original PATRIOT Act vote of 2001 passed the Senate with a single dissenting vote. It was with this vote that bulk collection of every American’s data became possible and the system of individualized warrants as called for in the Fourth Amendment was trampled upon.
This issue has came up multiple times since the original passage of the PATRIOT Act, most notably with the 2006 Reauthorization vote as well as the USA Freedom Act of 2015. With the 2006 Reauthorization all but ten Senators voted in favor of reauthorizing modern Writs of Assistance. However, in 2015 a filibuster by Senator Rand Paul aided the brief expiration of these programs, which simply would be replaced by the new USA Freedom Act.
The USA Freedom Act certainly was an improvement over what had previously expired, however it was from being consistent with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Despite courts consistently ruling bulk collection of data Unconstitutional, the National Security Agency with approval of Congress has continued to collect the private information of each individual American.
Typically after tragedies occur the public is more willing to sacrifice their liberty, in the name of security. When examining the Congressional voting trends in regards to the PATRIOT Act, this point is clear as immediately after tragedies occur, the general population is more than willing to compromise on their principles. This phenomenon is not restricted to only the right to privacy, this is consistently done after tragedies involving firearms to advance gun control legislation, immigration restrictions in order to prevent terrorists from enter this nation, and so many other measures that follow this strategy.
American politicians understand this way in which the American people function. The vast majority of politicians concern themselves with advancing their own agenda, rather than actually protecting the rights and security of their people. This San Bernardino tragedy is no exception, as Washington bureaucrats are using these tragedies in order to further compromise the Constitutional rights that every single American is entitled.
Interestingly, a select few members of Congress have continuously stood up for the rights of their constituents as well as every single American. When an unelected body, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this case, is asking American companies to compromise on American principles there would typically be no outcry. When individualized warrants are thrown out the window in order to collect the metadata of every single customer of a national phone company, entrenched Washington politicians are willing to continue to compromise on the vital concept of due process as outlined in the United States Constitution.
Yet despite the politicians of Washington willingness to compromise on the Constitutional rights of Americans, the private sector is doing what it can in order to ensure the rights of the people.
Apple, as well as other private technology companies, have always aided the intelligence community in order to get to the root of terrorist attacks. This time, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a stand to protect the rights of Americans. He is simply not willing to create a system which would allow for further infringement in the future.
The intelligence community has greatly aided the investigation in result to the San Bernardino attacks, far beyond their legal obligation. Apple and the private sector have done much more than their fair share to protect Americans from terrorism and to aide the government in ongoing investigations. Now, it is the private sector also protecting each and every American a federal government which no longer bounds itself to the Constitution and rule of law.