Crime & Courts

FBI and Amanda Knox advocate fail to win support to weaken cell phone privacy


When the story broke about Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook’s refusal to give the FBI full access to their cell phone security software last month, it caused an uproar. The iPhones in question belonged to the San Bernardino terrorists. The FBI made a court ordered request,“the bureau’s first and most urgent demand is that Apple disable the iPhone’s ‘auto-erase; security feature. This feature (which is not enabled by default on most iPhones) protects user data on a device from would-be snoops by wiping the phone after 10 failed passcode attempts.” Ardent Amanda Knox supporter and former FBI agent, Steve Moore, wrote animpassioned post supporting these demands.

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden knows all about how much information the government’s National Security Agency has been collecting from citizens all over the world and he weighed in on the situation. “Snowden dismissed the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s claim made in court that Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means of getting into this phone. . . ‘Respectfully, that’s horse****,’ he said, after discussing the implications of further allowing government access to supposedly private communications.”

According to the ACLU, “The FBI wants us to think that this case is about a single phone, used by a terrorist. But it’s a power grab . . In short, they’re asking the public to grant them significant new powers that could put all of our communications infrastructure at risk, and to trust them to not misuse these powers. But they’re deliberately misleading the public (and the judiciary) to try to gain these powers. This is not how a trustworthy agency operates. We should not be fooled.”

One court has already ruled against the FBI on this case. “A federal judge in New York ruled in favor of Apple on Monday, saying that an obscure Colonial-era law did not authorize him to force the firm to lift data from an iPhone at the government’s request.” Bill Gates of Microsoft and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak expressed their support for Apple and against the FBI as well. Wozniak said, “the FBI ‘picked a lame case,’ and that it is unlikely the phone in question even contains relevant information.”

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