Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Test Case, Please Ignore

Dominic Mauro (via G. Keenan Schneider), who is an honest-to-goodness real-life lawyer:

And look, the FBI’s job is to investigate crimes and keep us safe. It’s natural for them to want better tools. Heck, I want them to have better tools. They catch criminals, which is A Good Thing. But there’s simply no arguing that if the FBI compels Apple to circumvent iPhone security today, they will be resist the temptation to use Apple’s tool on another phone tomorrow. They’ll use it like any other tool.

You don’t even have to imagine, just look at the Patriot Act. It was passed to give law enforcement new powers to fight terrorism. The full name of the law is the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, which spells USA PATRIOT Act because the country kind of lost its mind after September 11. And do you know what the FBI does today with the Appropriate Tools that help them Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism? Bust drug dealers.

Slippery slope arguments are inherently weak, but the FBI has demonstrated that they will use whatever precedent they can to establish the legality of whatever new intelligence gathering program they choose. This is a shitty test case; it cannot be allowed to be the cornerstone of legislation that would allow for further intrusion.