Apple and Google snub FBI snoops

Apple and Google snub FBI snoops

Big Brother posterIn good news for Californians, Silicon Valley companies are getting some backbone in rebuffing government snooping. The Washington Post reports:

FBI Director James B. Comey sharply criticized Apple and Google on Thursday for developing forms of smartphone encryption so secure that law enforcement officials cannot easily gain access to information stored on the devices — even when they have valid search warrants.

His comments were the most forceful yet from a top government official but echo a chorus of denunciation from law enforcement officials nationwide. Police have said that the ability to search photos, messages and Web histories on smartphones is essential to solving a range of serious crimes, including murder, child pornography and attempted terrorist attacks.

That’s the excuse when the government wants to increase its powers: it brings up serious crimes. Maybe the FBI and these other agencies would gain a more sympathetic reception if, after 9/11, they had not completely shredded the Fourth Amendment, which reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It’s typical of government to use crises to abuse its powers. For example, after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt and California Attorney General Earl Warren (later governor and U.S. Supreme Court justice) shoved more than 100,000 loyal Japanese-Americans into concentration camps. Ironically, it was FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who argued against doing so because, he said, he already had rounded up the few traitors, and everybody else was innocent.

The FBI and the other agencies still can use traditional investigative methods, including phone taps, bugging computers, putting bugs in walls, tailing people, infiltrating organizations, etc. They used such methods to destroy the Ku Klux Klan back in the 1960s before there even was an Internet.

The Silicon Valley actions are positive for California because it means our tech companies are responsive to consumer demands — and to the Fourth Amendment.

For now, at least, Big Brother is watching you a little less.

12 comments

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  1. Dork
    Dork 29 September, 2014, 15:13

    Last time I checked mere peasants were not allowed to even know what is in the personnel records of those in “Law Enforcement” let alone LOOK AT THEM. So when all those records on our PUBLIC SERVANTS are a matter of PUBLIC RECORD, call me we can talk, til then STFU.

    Sig Heil

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  2. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 29 September, 2014, 20:08

    I sense this is a scam to try to restore the consumer’s trust in these tech companies that were part of the PRISM program and handing over customer data to NSA without a warrant and without consent of their customers. So now Google and Apple have turned over a new leaf and suddenly the gov is the enemy? BS. I don’t buy it for a NYC minute. Ed Snowden let the cat out of the bag. And once it’s out you can’t put it back in again. Today I just assume that I’m being spied on. This is not the same country that I was born in.

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    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 30 September, 2014, 21:09

      They have data lists of your phone records, but I don’t believe for a NYC minute that they plug in on your actual conversation. If you call in the U.S. all the time there would be no red flags, probably. If they saw your number calling Syria one day when you had never dialed that number before, they might check it out.

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      • LetitCollapse
        LetitCollapse 30 September, 2014, 22:14

        Obviously you didn’t listen to what Snowden told us. They were eavesdropping on citizens who has no connection to terrorism, just because they could.

        Btw, MY phone records are MY phone records. Per the 4th Amendment, NO ONE in government should have a right to examine MY phone records without MY consent or without a warrant signed by a judge. We live in the United States of America with a Constitution that guarantees certain inalienable rights. Many men died to protect those rights. Let’s show some respect for their sacrifices, okay?

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  3. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 30 September, 2014, 18:49

    Talk about “Big Brother”!! You conservatives all laud “Transparent California”–I can type in the name of any public retiree that I know and instantly see the amount of their pension–if that isn’t “Big Brother”, I don’t know what is!

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 30 September, 2014, 22:17

      Since we contribute to your pension benefits you have no right to privacy. We have just as much right to know how much you get as you do. You should have thought about that before you chose to work for the government and take TAXPAYER money.

      The government doesn’t pay my phone bill. Therefore, if the gov wants to scour my phone records – get a warrant.

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  4. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 1 October, 2014, 21:59

    This is probably just a big FAKE OUT with a WINK WINK at the now multitudinous authorities, the alphabet soup of police agencies that work so hard to KEEP US SAFE……

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 2 October, 2014, 10:04

      I think you nailed it, Bill. When the PRISM program was exposed it damaged the reputations of most of these various IT companies. They were working hand in hand with NSA to allow the gov access to our papers and records that are supposed to be secure and protected under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. Regardless of what seesaw says, those records are ONLY to be released to the gov with the consent of the person who the phone records represent, or with a signed warrant from a judge. Now that these IT companies got caught with their pants down around their ankles via PRISM – they are claiming “bad, bad government”. BS. I don’t buy it at all. IMO it’s a ruse and they’ll dime us out at the first opportunity. I have the opinion that there is an evil alliance between big business and gov. Anyone who witnessed the 2008 meltdown and it’s aftermath – and believes differently is a fool.

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  5. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 2 October, 2014, 09:51

    You think its ok to snoop into the private financial records of pensioners who are not going to conspire to hurt you. Yet, you bristle at the thought of your phone number typing out on a data sheet when you make a call–if that is happening with all phone numbers. I don’t believe they are listening to our calls–they have software programmed to hi-lite numbers that send up red flags. How else do you expect our government to find and root out the terrorists who come from other countries and take up training in the U.S. so that they can kill as many of us as possible?

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    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 2 October, 2014, 10:31

      You’re full of it, seesaw. After being exposed as a liar by Ed Snowden, Director of Intel James Clapper wrote a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden and basically admitted that Snowden was correct – that NSA was not only collecting meta data on phone records, emails, bank accounts, credit cards, etc. on INNOCENT US citizens – but also CONTENT – meaning email text, telephone conversation recordings, text messages, etc… By doing so, Clapper essentially admitted to committing perjury during his previous congressional testimony given under sworn oath. Was he prosecuted? NOPE! Was he fired? NOPE! Any idea what would happen if a common citizen is accused of lying during congressional testimony? Go ask Roger Clemens. lol.

      If the gov has good reason to believe that someone living in the US is a terrorist and we have to collect his meta data or listen to his phone calls -GO GET A DAMN WARRANT AND ABIDE BY THE US CONSTITUTION AND RULE OF LAW!!!!

      We live in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, seesaw. NOT NORTH KOREA!!!!

      Reply this comment
  6. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 2 October, 2014, 11:17

    Snowden is a U.S. citizen too, and what he did was criminal. If he thinks what he did was so heroic, he should come back to the U.S. and have his day in court. He will not have good days in Russia.

    Reply this comment
  7. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 2 October, 2014, 12:24

    “Snowden is a U.S. citizen too, and what he did was criminal.”

    Snowden is a U.S. citizen too, and what he did was HEROIC!

    Fixed it for ya, seesaw! 😉

    Naturally you were unable to challenge the content of my previous post with reasoned and rational counterarguments. I slapped your argument down hard and you had no comeback. You know what Clapper and NSA did was HIGHLY illegal but instead you give them a pass and condemn a whistleblower calling him a ‘criminal’. Shameful. It’s obvious where your allegiances lie. 🙁

    Reply this comment

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