There is no fight that Mark Cuban doesn’t relish and one with the government, that puts him firmly on the side of private enterprise and privacy, is just a badge of courage for the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks who is horrified at the government interfering with company policy. Cuban wrote, “Amen”, on his blog. “A standing ovation”, in regards to Apple’s refusal to obey a judge’s order to break into an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
This fight that will probably find its way to the Supreme Court (and is the first of many to come) pits the rights of the Justice Department to retrieve data from an iPhone against the rights of the public who enter into a privacy contract. The government’s argument is that retrieved data may offer a wealth of information about terrorist planning, strategy and organization. It could strengthen U.S. security, particularly in defeating ISIS on American shores.
But Apple sees it simply as a privacy issue and one with a slippery slope once a precedent is set that the government has the right to break the encryption code.
Surprising to some, but not Apple, is how secure the encryption codes are. Only Apple has the technology to override it and they are refusing to do so. That’s the government’s take. Apple says they don’t have the technology. After multiple log-ins, the data, which is linked to the passcode and not the device, disappears.
“Every tool that protects our privacy and liberties against oppression, tyranny, madmen and worse can often be used to take those very precious rights from us. But like we protect our 2nd Amendment Right, we must not let some of the negatives stand in the way of the positives. We must stand up for our rights to free speech and liberty.” (Mark Cuban)
Cuban was comprehensive in his belief of no government hacking into our smartphones unless four things apply. He went as far as proposing a law that spells it out pretty precisely.
- The incident is an act of terrorism with casualties
- The device was owned by the perpetrator
- The phone had to be on site at the crime
- The terrorist has to be dead
This all came to a public fervor on Tuesday when Apple was ordered to cooperate with the FBI in regards to the encryption of the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino killers who murdered 16 and injured 24..
“This is not the end of privacy”, the Justice Department wrote in their brief. The F.B.I. has not been able to unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino masterminds. He was killed along with his wife after they conducted their murderous rampage. “It’s unfortunate that Apple continues to refuse to assist the department in obtaining access to the phone of one of the terrorists involved in a major terror attack on U.S. soil.”
The government has drawn their line in the sand and Mark Cuban, along with many private industry chiefs, has drawn his as well. Is privacy more important than national security concerns?
The ACLU thinks so. Mark Cuban thinks so.
“Apple deserves praise for standing up for its right to offer secure devices to all of its customers.” (Alex Abdo, staff lawyer ACLU)
“It would be a disaster if they agreed to comply.” (Mark Cuban)
photo via llananba