A joint statement from Access Now, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Apple is engaged in a high-profile battle against a court order demanding it write, sign, and deploy custom computer code to defeat the security on an iPhone. As civil liberties groups committed to the freedom of thought that underpins a democratic society, this fight is our fight. It is the fight of every person who believes in a future where technology does not come at the cost of privacy or individual security and where there are reasonable safeguards on government power….
From the landing page, players set off through five stages: What is Violent Extremism? What are Known Violent Extremist Groups? Who Do Violent Extremists Affect? Why Do People Become Violent Extremists? How Do Violent Extremists Make Contact? As players successfully answer questions, they get to cut the puppet strings and ultimately earn an “FBI certificate” upon completion.
If the problem were simply bad execution it might be enough to laugh the effort off as out-of-touch bureaucrats attempting to connect with teenagers. But “Don’t be a Puppet” is hardly innocuous. It represents some of the worst elements of the federal government’s “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) initiative, which targets entire Muslim communities for what it terms any signs of “radicalism” — violent or otherwise.
It’s not about 1 person. It’s not about 1 phone. It’s about the government being able to snoop on all people, on all phones, on all devices, on your TV, PC, even your HVAC and car. The government wants a skeleton key to unlock whatever it wants whenever it wants. This is dangerous in the extreme.
Apple CEO Tim Cook declared on Wednesday that his company wouldn’t comply with a government search warrant to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardinokillers, a significant escalation in a long-running debate between technology companies and the government over access to people’s electronically-stored private information.
But in a similar case in New York last year, Apple acknowledged that it could extract such data if it wanted to. And according to prosecutors in that case, Apple has unlocked phones for authorities at least 70 times since 2008. (Apple doesn’t dispute this figure.)
“This move by the FBI could snowball around the world. Why in the world would our government want to give repressive regimes in Russia and China a blueprint for forcing American companies to create a backdoor?” Wyden told the Guardian.
“Companies should comply with warrants to the extent they are able to do so, but no company should be forced to deliberately weaken its products. In the long run, the real losers will be Americans’ online safety and security.”
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hailed Apple for refusing to comply with a federal court order to unlock the iPhone used by one of the killers in the San Bernardino mass shooting.
According to the government, this information is exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act pursuant to Exemption 7e, the part of the federal statute that says agencies do not have to disclose records that would reveal law enforcement “techniques” or “procedures.” But as ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney Jessie Rossman argues, staffing, budgetary, and statistical information about caseloads do not reveal techniques or procedures.
“James Comey continues to argue the “Ferguson effect” is fueling the crime surge.”
When misguided slips into misleading —