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The FBI and Apple



The two contending forces resolved their dispute arising out of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. It turns out the FBI didn't need Apple. The US government can hire hackers who can get into the phone. That was bad news for Apple's brand (unhackability is part of the mystique), but good news for what remains of the fourth amendment. It is an awful business having courts order private companies to help the government open doors to their products, especially when those products have an intimate character for so many of their buyers.

Yet the FBI doesn't want that much to remain of the fourth amendment. So it, and the D of J, have re-started the fight, this time over another phone. The Justice Department said on April 8th that it is going to seek a court order to force Apple to help it unlock an iPhone that was seized as part of a New York drug-traffic investigation.

This was a front page story in the weekend Wall Street Journal. Still, it faded from public attention quickly, because the war on drugs is by now ho-hum, whereas resistance to terrorism involves the paradigm of front-page news: violence.

I hope for a victory for freedom but, as always, I fear for the contrary result.

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