Privacy and Government

…and government shoe-squeezing.

The No. 2 official at the Justice Department [Deputy Attorney General James Cole] delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc executives: new encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.

The naked panic-mongering is something we’d expect to get out of the press, but for a high-ranking government official to spout such nonsense is…unseemly. For Cole to masquerade his extreme outlier as the trend that must result, though, is dishonest. But it’s all good—DoJ must be able to snoop into Americans’ communications on DoJ’s own recognizance. Because, of course, no American administration would abuse its discretion.

This comes on the heels of another DoJ overwrought claim.

Last month, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said new Apple and Google encryption schemes would “allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”

This is the risk a free people take; it’s a risk the free American people have said repeatedly we’re willing and anxious to take. Because such encryption schemes also would “allow people to place themselves beyond an overreaching government.” Which overreach the crocodile tears and manufactured crises of Cole and Comey demonstrate this government is committing.

Give up some freedom—some privacy from government snooping—in order to have security? Pssh. Without the freedom, without the privacy from government snooping, there can never be any security.

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