Feature Article

February 26, 2016

One More Humble Opinion on Apple vs. the FBI

I was in a meeting a few days ago where some indicated that they knew the real story about the FBI vs. Apple. I doubt it. Even if they did, I am not sure the real story should be about either party.

You see, the real story is that communication is so much more than voice calls these days, so the rules about government right to tap a phone are about as antiquated as the 1890 state laws that talk about “telegraphic and telephonic.”

The problem then from the FBI perspective is that they don’t have a leg to stand on. Or do they? Laws still apply and courts can order information from corporations, carriers and, of course, citizens. However, we have the Over the Top (OTT) Internet representing a hard place to ask the courts for support. Having the equipment manufacturer be responsible then is the easiest throat to choke.

Now on the Apple side, the hypocrisy is somewhat laughable. You can’t demand that every application get approved on the phone directly from Apple and then sit there and say the government is asking for too much authority. Apple certainly can’t make that statement when they are collecting analytic data on their customers.

Many of the companies joining Apple’s side are also analytic mavens.

Many of my friends would say that I am misinterpreting the use of the algorithms. After all, they don’t tell the advertiser that Bob Freud is getting the ad from Starbucks, only that a frequent user of Starbucks is receiving the advertisement.

Therefore the direct link the government wants is beyond what they do. The problem is the advertising effort is an after-data-collection process. 

The links then can be made.

As to whether they should or not, I am not going to fight. I consider Edward Snowden a hero for telling us about the abuse, but just because there is abuse does not negate the need for the privilege. What it shows is a need for better controls.

And we are certainly not hearing that strategy from other side at the moment.

 


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