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Bad Apple Arguments - Elf M. Sternberg
Bad Apple Arguments
This morning on the radio I heard some bloviating right-winger claim that Apple's arguments were in bad faith.

His argument was that Apple had a duty to correct its mistake in shipping "a toxic product." He compared selling encrypted phones to selling weapons-- something the US has done and US law continues to do, all the while publishing open papers that describe exactly how to implement all the encryption anyone might want. After all, encryption is only math. Impossible to break encryption exists as a consequence of the universe existing, and we've now reached the point where it's fairly common knowledge (at least among cryptogeeks) how to write code for it.

Or, to put it simply, if encryption is outlawed, only bad guys will use encryption. Unless, of course, we lock down every computing device so hard that instead of being pocket computers we use, they're pocket computers that use us. Then they only have what our political and corporate masters want on them, and nothing else. We will have no freedom at all.

Besides, we put much more on those phones than the writers of the Constitution, or any other legal entity in the world two centuries ago, imagined we might. Our responsibilities far exceed the capacity of our evolutionary brains; we must put a lot of our lives into something else, and we want that something else to be secure. If Apple is forced to open up the back door, it will be open and stay open. Software is a cheaply fungible resource; once written, it can be deployed on any compliant platform, and all iPhones would qualify as compliant platforms to the software Apple rights "just this one time."

So take this to a a logical conclusion. I used to say we were at the early stages of human/machine interfaces. But that's a bit like saying 1985 was "the early age of the Internet." It's true, but only in that TCP/IP was being used somewhere that year. 1993 was the real "early age"; we had HTTP and FTP and Usenet, and we were just starting to feel our way into cyberspace properly. It was all text. And 2016 is the real "early age" of human/machine interfaces: So, just imagine that the FBI really, really wants one of these groups to make something that will "take images from the terrorists' mind" without their consent. A total violation of the Fifth Amendment, right?

Except the writers of the Constitution never imagined the idea of mind-reading technology. But we're there, folks. And courts will be dealing with this stuff in the next ten years ago.

Enjoy the privacy of your own mind, while it lasts.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: Maris Marin, Les Badinage on Viola Organista

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From: (Anonymous) Date: March 1st, 2016 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)


This metaphor, the phone-as-mind-extension, is a thoughtful, clear way to illustrate the issues at stake here. And it's easy to use both biometrics and our tendency to knowingly use our phones to measure our physical condition (fittest, sleep trackers, etc). -- data which we then store on our phones-- to illustrate the phone-as-mind-n-body extension point. Thanks!
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