From: Union Leader Date: March 10, 2016 Author: Mary Leary
IN RECENT DAYS, the so-called "encryption debate" has continued to snowball, culminating in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, where law enforcement officials, academics and captains of industry staked out their positions in this national discussion.
An optimist might conclude that policymakers were perhaps heeding the counsel of Justice Samuel Alito, who noted in his 2012 United States v. Jones concurring opinion that "(In) circumstances involving dramatic technological change, the best solution to privacy concerns may be legislative."
Do not get your hopes up.
Congress, law enforcement, and the media, continue to miss the real issue, and that is just how these companies want it. ...
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From: New Boston Post Date: Feb. 27, 2016 Author: Mary Graw Leary
The recent firestorm between Apple, arguably the most valuable company in the world, and the Department of Justice regarding access to cell phone data has filled the headlines. Wrapping itself in the mantel of privacy protection, Apple is refusing to honor a court order to assist federal officials in accessing data from mass murderer Syed Rizwan Farook's encrypted cell phone. In so doing, Apple has held itself out that the great protector of privacy. Since that initial announcement, other commercial giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google jumped forth to support Apple.
Do not be fooled.
In the last several years a curious alternate reality has been created at the intersection of technology, privacy, and law enforcement. After Edward Snowden revealed the existence of government data collection previously unknown to the general public, the narrative surrounding how best to deal with the tension between privacy and security shifted. The focus moved from preventing the collection of personal information, to more narrowly just precluding the government from accessing this information. Government intrusion is a valid concern to be sure, but commercial entities have manipulated this dialog to portray themselves as some form of personal information guardians, when, in fact, they are panderers of this information.
This idea that Apple, Facebook, Google or any other similar entity is fully shielding people's privacy is a fiction. They have engaged in a phenomenon called "commercial conditioning" in which one corporate hand conditions customers to sacrifice their personal information to commercial entities, while the other hand constructs obstacles to law enforcement obtaining this information. These very companies not only claim, but advertise that they protect customer privacy from the government. Yet, in actuality they accumulate and aggregate information from their customers, often without their meaningful voluntary consent, and share it with other commercial entities on a regular basis. ...
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From: GVH Date: Feb. 25, 2016 Author: Siraj Hashmi
... But the process of a government agency requesting a private company to build something for its own use is not just perceived as invasive.
It is actually illegal.
"The government cannot commandeer the employees of other governments, like the states," said Robert A. Destro, a constitutional law professor at the Catholic University of America, said in an interview with GVH Live. "Why should they be able to commandeer the services of Apple? They can go out and hire their own software engineers to try this."
Destro believes that this case will absolutely be taken up by the Supreme Court, and that the death of Justice Antonin Scalia will make it difficult for Apple to come out on top.
"If the court splits four-to-four, then that affirms whatever the lower court says," Destro explained. "The lower court ordered Apple to cooperate."
Depending on where each Supreme Court justice stands, Apple may be pushed into an uncomfortable position and set what Tim Cook calls "a dangerous precedent" regarding smartphone users and their right to privacy.
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