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Published On: Sat, Feb 20th, 2016

Apple vs the Feds: Where do the top Presidential candidates stand?

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, released a statement about the federal government’s demands on the company concerning the San Bernandino attackers iPhone earlier this week:

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“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

“Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.”

Later, he noted the respect he has for the FBI; however, he states, “the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.

“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

“The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

While Apple is taking a noble stand in protecting our freedoms, the top Presidential candidates, from both parties see it differently.

Self-described “Constitutionalist” and Texas Senator Ted Cruz said the following during a CNN Town Hall on the topic:

“Apple has the right side on the global don’t make us do this to every iPhone on the market. But I think law enforcement has the better argument.

“I think Apple has serious argument that they should not be forced to put a backdoor in every cell phone everyone has. … So I think Apple has the right side on the global don’t make us do this to every iPhone on the market. But I think law enforcement has the better argument, this concerns the phone of one of the San Bernardino hackers. And for law enforcement to get a judicial search order, that’s consistent with the Fourth Amendment. That’s how the Bill of Rights operates, to say Apple, open this phone, not Anderson’s phone, not everyone’s here, open this phone.”

One commentor said, “He [Cruz] supports the FBI’s invasion of our privacy, is against normalized relations with Cuba, supports indefinite detention and torture in Guantanamo, and wants to carpet bomb the middle east and increase military spending. And this sneaky f**k still wants the ‘libertarian’ vote.”

Even the head of the Ted Cruz fan club, Glenn Beck said he disagreed with Cruz’s position, honestly, the first time I’ve heard the word “disagree” come out of Beck’s mouth or the mouth of his radio show drones.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio said in a most nuanced way, “If we passed a law that required Apple and these companies to create a backdoor. One, criminals could figure that out and use it against you. And number two, there’s already encrypted software that already exists, not only now but in the future created in other countries. We would not be able to stop that, so there would still be encryption capabilities — they just wouldn’t be American encryption capabilities.

“We’re going to have to figure out a way forward working with Silicon Valley and the tech industry on this. There has to be a way to deal with with this issue that continues to protect the privacy of Americans but creates some process by which law-enforcement intelligence agencies could access encrypted information. I don’t have a magic solution for it today — it’s a complicated new issue.”

Rubio calls on Apple to be a “good corporate citizen”.

Businessman Donald Trump would take thing somewhat farther–First he told Joe Scaeborough during an MSNBC Town Hall he would “force” Apple to comply, of course without offering specifics.

He later called on a boycott of Apple products. “Boycott Apple until such time as they give that information. Apple ought to give the security for that phone, OK. What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such a time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.”

Wow, you just thought of that? Pretty impressive how quick you are.

The Democratic contenders, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders tried to appease both sides of the issue in the most wishy-washy fashion.

Sanders said, “I am very fearful in America about Big Brother. And that means not only the federal government getting into your emails or knowing what books you’re taking out of the library, or private corporations knowing everything there is to know about you in terms of your health records, your banking records, your consumer practices.

“On the other hand, what I also worry about is the possibility of another terrorist attack against our country. And frankly, I think there is a middle ground that can be reached.”

While Clinton mirrored Sanders remarks calling it a “difficult dilemma”.

Ed Krayewski with Reason magazine noted a point, which should be but isn’t obvious to all including “constitutionalist” Ted Cruz–

Customers want their data to be secure, and will seek out service providers that can offer that. Ted Cruz acknowledged that an encryption backdoor is a legitimate concern because of hackers and cyber criminals that could try to break into people’s phones. But people are also concerned about the government doing so, hence the reputational pressure felt by Apple.

Government does not face such reputational pressures, and given Ted Cruz’s uncanny ability to occupy every side of a position at the moment that side is the politically opportune one and his rise in the polls, maybe neither does he.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Rand Paul, Justin Amash and Judge Napolitano on Apple - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Apple vs the Feds: Where do the top Presidential candidates stand? […]

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