U.S., latest phones need compromise on privacy

By: Kaleb Bengston

It is starting to look like tech companies are fighting for us. Companies like Apple and Google are encoding and encrypting individual phones and computers to fight against NSA tracking and collection of data. The FBI Director, James Comey, is throwing a fit over the encryptions because almost every phone in the United States uses an Apple OS or a Chrome OS, which means every phone is immune to the NSA. Comey called Thursday for “a regulatory or legislative fix” for technology companies’ expanding use of encryption to protect user privacy, arguing that without such a fix, “homicide cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free and child exploitation victims might not be identified or recovered.”

The argument becomes one of national security. The counter-argument then becomes is it a problem of national security or security of power and a stranglehold on freedom. Both sides have a point, but the answer is somewhere in the middle. The NSA has been allowed to run free even after Snowden, a former NSA employee who leaked secrets and is still on the run. Not a single restriction has been implicated on the NSA since this started; in fact, most support it. It should be a violation of our 4th Amendment rights, but Obama justified it by saying, “Paul Revere did it first.”

Thanks, Obama.

The 4th Amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Not a single warrant, not a single case of probable cause has been issued for the masses of America, and even people spanning across the border, to have their data collected. Are we criminals? Are we all the bad guys?

“Perhaps it’s time to suggest that the post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction — in a direction of fear and mistrust,” Comey said, speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington in his first major policy speech since taking over the FBI 13 months ago.

The pendulum hasn’t swung far enough. Is it unreasonable to not trust the government after learning that they collect everything we do? When Comey tries to convince Apple and Google to loosen up on the encryption, is that not to fear? What does the FBI want that they are pleading to Apple and Google to lessen their stranglehold on the NSA?

It’s all about security to them. Justifiably so, but where do we draw the line? Is it security before freedom, or freedom before security? Our rights are being broken, specifically our 4th Amendment, unless our government classifies all of us as criminals or threats. In that case, that’s more scary.

The NSA, if they want their precious information back, need regulation — warrants and overseers so that our government doesn’t go out of control. There is too little regulation, as seen by the mass information grabbing and acting like they are the victims. There should be no more access until there is oversight.

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