Civics: Encryption Tales From President Obama

Jenna McLaughlin:

“Why isn’t ‘government must always have the ability to access plaintext’ the more ‘absolutist’ view?” asked Julian Sanchez, privacy and technology senior fellow at the Cato Institute, in a tweet. “‘Swallow arsenic.’ No. ‘Ok, a little hemlock then.’ No. ‘Well, c’mon, you can’t be an ABSOLUTIST about this,’” he joked.

Kevin Bankston, the director of the Open Technology Institute, tweeted that he was “disappointed” Obama resorted to fearmongering. “Opens w/child kidnapping & terror, closes w/child porn & terror, vague talk of balance,” he wrote.

Jonathan Zdziarski:

We, as everyday Americans, should also encourage the idea of warrant proof places. The DOJ believes, quite erroneously, that the Fourth Amendment gives them the right to any evidence or information they desire with a warrant. The Bill of Rights did not grant rights to the government; it protected the rights of Americans from the overreach that was expected to come from government. Our most intimate thoughts, our private conversations, our ideas, our -intent- are all things our phone tracks. These are concepts that must remain private (if we choose to protect them) for any functioning free society. In today’s technological landscape, we are no longer giving up just our current or future activity under warrant, but for the first time in history, making potentially years of our life retroactively searchable by law enforcement. Things are recorded in ways today that no one would have imagined, even when CALEA was passed. The capability that DOJ is asserting is that our very lives and identities – going back across years – are subject to search. The Constitution never permitted this.

The bottom line is this: Our country actually recognizes warrant proof data, and Apple has every right and ethical obligation to recognize it in the design of their products. As Americans, we should be demanding our thoughts, conversations, and identities be protected with the highest level of security. This isn’t just about credit cards.