Thoughts About Apple

By Mark Rossini

APPLE-R-registration-markFeb. 20, 2016 – As we all are aware this week has been filled with news on all fronts concerning Apple and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request for Apple’s assistance in “opening up” an iPhone belonging to the the San Bernardino terrorists.

I make specific reference to the DOJ, since the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is not the requesting party here. While it’s true the FBI will conduct the investigation of the iPhone if and when Apple complies with a court order, we must remember that the FBI does not request anything or order anyone to “do something”. That is the purview and authority of the DOJ via a court of law and proper jurisdiction. Putting the FBI in the headlines of a story, and a pundit’s editorials only serves one purpose, and that is to cause an emotional stir and an assurance that we will read the piece. “DOJ Demands Apple to Write Code” doesn’t have the same “panache” when the headline leads with the FBI.

Now that little civic lesson is over, let’s move over to another civic lesson that we all tend to forget. By now, astute readers will note that I have used the word “we” three times in the above paragraph. Why is this important? It is important because the most powerful and relevant document ever to exist in our history as a planet, which serves as a beacon and model for all others, is our Constitution. The Constitution of the United States of America begins with one simple word: “We.”

And this the heart of it all. “We The People in order to form a more perfect union … ”

Curious isn’t it? The Constitution does not say “We the Government and the Rest of You” or “You and the Rest of Us”. In my opinion that’s all we have been reading and listening to all this week. While our “Bill of Rights” guarantees us liberty and freedom to conduct our personal affairs, it does so within the context of “WE”. It’s why we have laws and regulations at all. They exist and stem from the Constitution and our Federal Rule of Criminal and Civil procedure, to ensure that the playing field is even for ALL of us. It’s part of our Social Contract to one another. The Social Contract that “No Man is an Island”. The Social Contract that has been part of our collective commitment to each other as a human race since Plato and Aristotle to Locke, Paine and Thoreau.

It’s WE … not you and your perfect selfish little world that you inhabit and have no obligation to others, as some of the nay-sayers seem to believe. Your world in which your individual rights are supreme and all others’ concerns are irrelevant and of lesser intellect. Your selfish world where you wax poetic about how you need to be free from the rest of us and the Government (which by the way, you pay taxes to) creates the free society you inhabit and provides goods and services as part of its/our social contract and obligation.

It is for this very reason why I believe that Apple is obligated to assist the FBI in any way possible. Please note that I do not dismiss the passionate beliefs of people who think that the FBI will then take the newly created Apple code and spy on us all. I do not dismiss them because I have even the slightest inclination that it would ever happen in any way, shape, or form, but because there have been examples of certain government officials who have abused their power and authority for nefarious purposes. Senator Joe McCarthy, President Richard Nixon, and yes former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover come to mind immediately. But I remind you, that they are no longer in positions of authority. The no longer can manipulate. They are dead and still continue to be in that permanent state.

We have learned from past abuse. We have enacted laws and safeguards and protections. We have hired smart and decent and honest people who understand the responsibility of power. We will not let our rights be abused. On that note a chorus will clamor “What about Snowden?!! What about the PATRIOT ACT?!!” Okay, so let’s see, can any reader at all make a claim or show cause or standing that the Government with a capital G, has caused them harm? Targeted them for economic abuse? Ruined their lives by preventing them from traveling? Getting a job? The answer is no. And the reason why it’s no, why not one person can cite that they have been victimized by anything Eric Snowden has revealed or the PATRIOT ACT, is because it has not happened — and it will not happen because WE THE PEOPLE are in charge.

Apple. For the sake of us all … open the phone.

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