“Law and technology frequently operate at cross purposes. Take, for example, our embrace of electronic devices as our closest companions and most trusted confidantes. To law enforcement officers and agencies, that makes them valuable sources of evidence,” Bruce Abramson writes for CNBC. “2016 opened with a high-profile device-related dispute between Apple and the FBI; it closed with one pitting Amazon against a local police department. And though the stakes were far higher in the Apple case, when it comes to headline principles, Apple’s refusal to cooperate got public policy right; if Amazon sticks to its guns it will get public policy wrong.”
“In Apple’s case, the stakes were particularly high. The FBI believed that an iPhone belonging to Syed Farook—one of the radical Islamic terrorists responsible for the San Bernadino massacre—might reveal useful information about other terrorists planning additional attacks,” Bruce Abramson writes for CNBC. “The matter implicating Amazon’s Echo is prosaic, by comparison. While investigating a homicide committed in a private home in Bentonville, Arkansas, the police noticed that the homeowner—and prime suspect—was something of an electronics junkie. Among his devices was an Amazon Echo, an “always listening” device that, when triggered, records ambient sound and stores the recording on Amazon’s cloud. The police thought that selected recordings might help fill some gaps in their investigation. Amazon refused to hand them over.”
Abramson writes, “The difference in the principles at stake explains why Apple was right in refusing to help the FBI save lives from a potential, imminent terrorist attack, while Amazon’s refusal to help clear an isolated crime whose victim is already dead is a mistake… When the government is empowered to commandeer and redirect private resources in the name of the common good, freedom and human rights suffer greatly. As unobjectionable — and even laudable — as the FBI’s request may have been, it is inconsistent with the cause of freedom. The Bentonville police, on the other hand, are simply asking Amazon to turn over data already in Amazon’s possession.”
Read more in the full article – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: Exactly.
Amazon Echo murder case spotlights question of what ‘always on’ actually means – December 28, 2016
FBI wants to get into locked Apple iPhone of Minnesota Islamic terrorist Dahir Adan – October 7, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook touts encryption at Senator Orrin Hatch’s Utah Tech Tour – October 3, 2016
Feckless FBI unable to unlock iPhone, even with a ‘fingerprint unlock warrant’ – May 12, 2016
FBI’s Comey says agency paid more than $1 million to access San Bernadino iPhone – April 21, 2016
Nothing significant found on San Bernardino’s terrorist’s iPhone – April 14, 2016
FBI director confirms hack only works on older iPhones that lack Apple’s Secure Enclave – April 7, 2016
Apple responds to FBI: ‘This case should have never been brought’ – March 29, 2016