December 1, 2022


How Private are Our Cell Phones?

When discussing the balance of security vs privacy in a modern America there is no denying 9/11 was an event that profoundly changed how we all view that very balance. This was a wake up call for all Americans about how we conduct our everyday lives and how we monitor our citizens. When the dust settled after 9/11 there was a lot to figure out. We did not get it all figured out and as technology advances our policies on this stuff will have to as well.

A big debate on this was when the CIA wanted Apple to develop a way into a locked iphone of a terrorist suspect. Apple didn’t want to and eventually it was something the courts and congress had to step in on. Ever since modern governments have existed there has been a tug of war of what the government can do to its citizens in the name of security at the expense of those citizens’ privacy and personal rights. When the Bill of Rights was created its writers could not have accounted for the creation of personal devices like smartphones so our rights our sometimes confusing when it comes to these things. This was made very clear after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino in 2015 the CIA wanted access to the attackers iphone but apple refused. The passcodes on their phones are obviously protected even from them, they would have needed to develop a way to hack into the phone, also creating a way to gain access to any other iphone as well. Apple refused to do this despite the CIA’s best efforts to make them.

In the article I read discussing this events impacts on the ongoing debate of national security vs personal privacy Apple’s decision to refuse to give the CIA access to the phone is made very clear. They sell their phones and all their products with the assumption that they are safe devices. If Apple was to be able to access our devices potentially everyone would be at risk. There would be no way of saying they or the government or anyone else wouldn’t use it in other cases. So for Apple to say the wouldn’t and for the court case and legislation to support this was a victory for the personal privacy camp. Our devices and what is contained inside of them is our personal privacy, the same way one’s safe, house, or mail would have been in the days the constitution was written.

There have been privacy invasions by the government and telephone companies before with everything the Edward Snowden leaked. When we learned that the NSA had been keep track of all of our phone calls, including their contents. This was a big violation of what we had defined as the line between personal privacy and national security. This was a major misstep for the US government and destroyed the confidence and trust many Americans had in the government. Apple clearly took note of this incident and didn’t want another serious privacy issue with our phones within two years of each other. There is clearly a line that most americans don’t want crossed when it comes to our privacy, for the government or anybody to keep track of what we say in our phone calls or even have the ability to access what we keep in our phones is clearly over that line.



No Computer Privacy

Dear President,


Technological advances have brought some of the greatest things available to mankind, yet they have brought great loss to thousands of families all across the world. We aren’t living in a world where it would take months to schedule another 9/11, Orlando, Paris Attacks, or Belgium Bombing due to the lack of communication; no, it only takes a matter of seconds to communicate with another person half-way across the world. Recently, a man and his wife decided to attack the Inland Regional Center located in San Bernardino, California. Later during the day of investigation the police found an iPhone that belonged to the shooters and it was the FBI who really wanted bypass the lockscreen- intrigued by the idea that the device might have information leading back to ISIS.  


As a citizen of not just America but the modern world, computer privacy should not be a right. It is not because people do not deserve to have a sort of privacy but actually the fact that these terrorists use media to communicate with each other to bomb people and do mass shootings. For example, prior to the shooting in San Bernardino the Richard A. Serrano from Los Angeles Times stated in his article, “San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day”- Serrano How different would life have been present day if that incident had not occurred? As crazy as it may seem maybe one of those family members did not become a doctor anymore or a lawyer or an environmentalist. Think about it for a brief second, the plausible reasons that family member could not do what they wanted to be; it comes down to a domino effect, the member could have become depressed and be deprived of motivation from their loss. Essentially the FBI can careless if you are selling weed or doing things that are not in their major interest. People may have this misconception that the FBI is going to want to know what the person is doing at 3 in the morning or who you’re doing it with.
After so many of these attacks occurring, I have began to notice things that I thought would only ever see in Mexico. Things that are meant to make you feel safe, but do the very contrary they make me feel… unsafe; having officials with assault rifles at public places does just that.  Do we live in a safe place? America claims to be the safest place, that no other country can just come attack because we will be right on them and they “will find no safe haven”.  What good does it do to protect ourselves from other countries if America cannot protect itself from its own People. Protected, America can be but it is a matter of how. I believe the FBI should have the right to monitor all the messages going around world wide from any platform. With that being said, this has been a sensitive topic for the past couple months, it is truly unfair that many of these people are dying and they have not done anything to provoke the killer.