“Give Me Data ‘Cause I Need a Hit”

Lily D. - LLI Akron

Privacy amongst individuals in this day and age is a topic with no general answer or solution. What many people consider as private like their cell phones, are actually devices that can be used against you, like if you have a reason to be pursued by authorities. When it comes to the question of either the safety of yourself or the safety of people altogether, that should be a good reason to investigate your actions.

The expectation of privacy starts to fall away when there is something of significance being questioned. For example, the San Bernardino Shooter Case (2016) involved the FBI connecting with Apple to “create and electronically sign new software that would enable the FBI to unlock a work-issued iPhone 5c” it recovered from the shooter.

However, the FBI did not receive assistance from Apple because Apple declined the request. The FBI used a third party to access the iPhone. The request was backed by a US Federal Statute, the All Writs Act (1651) that authorizes federal courts to issue the appropriate aid to the usages and principles of law. Apple should have assisted the FBI in this case because of the probable cause brought forth and the All Writs Act as well. People’s privacy should not be the argument for this.

The inappropriate use of the 4th Amendment in cases where probable cause and significant evidence are brought forward show clearly that people will pull whatever cards they can.

The FBI has a responsibility, ensuring the safety and security in the US. Their organization stands for the “Federal Bureau of Investigation.” They have a responsibility to investigate a situation of uncertain safety, not an invasion of privacy. In a Washington Post article about the Apple company’s privacy laws, it says:

Apple says those logs are wiped every 30 days. But because that data exists at all, police can use court orders to force the company to hand it over. And, as the Intercept notes, in ongoing investigations, it’s possible to extend court orders to get new data, which would allow law enforcement to build a record that goes beyond just 30 days.

When law enforcement have probable cause and reasonable suspicion, the choice of privacy becomes transparent. The 4th amendment doesn’t specifically imply our rights, but officers do have the right to question. Yes, there are things that us as individuals have to be allowed to have, like the right to speak up and to fight for our personal beliefs, but we lose that when we make authority question our actions.

Phone companies should issue a contract to their customers that allows authorities to pursue your device if they have a warrant. Apple commented on their participation in investigations, saying they will “help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data.” So they are saying that they will continue to provide help but also to ensure privacy.

Overall, privacy is a valuable thing that people enjoy having. However, if you have committed actions that are in question, it shouldn’t be considered wrong or unconstitutional for you to be investigated. If anything, it is out of safety. Data we have on our phones is created by us. The things we choose to do predicts our outcome. Therefore, if you have evidence that you were involved in a crime, it should be fair to be pursued. If you didn’t do anything wrong, then you shouldn’t be concerned. The FBI are people with a responsibility. They aren’t looking at your love life. They are protecting us and keeping us safe.