Sunday, March 13, 2016

Privacy vs. Security: Which Do You Value Most?

  Privacy vs. the Government: Security vs. Privacy Security vs. Privacy, Which Do You Value Most?      

The murderers in the San Bernardino County, California had an iPhone. The FBI is trying to get into it, but Apple refuses to help them. Question: When is privacy more important than our safety? My answer: Never.

ISIS is a major threat now. That is a fact. Thousands of Westerners, some of them neighbors, family or friends of those we know are joining this terrorist group. Other terrorist groups are starting up in their shadow. All have one purpose in mind: Destroy the murderous Western infidels. That puts every one in danger. Every one. The husband and wife murderers in San Bernardino are believed to have ties with them. Their actions killed, slayed, murdered, cut down the lives over a dozen people for no reason except that they were Americans. The FBI wants to know for sure about those ties. So why is Apple not helping them out? Why isn't our government leaders backing the FBI's request? Has our right to privacy really become more important than protecting our lives? Never should that happen.

Advocates for privacy warn that if we let the government into our phones, etc. there will be no end to it. “Just imagine what the FBI could do with homes full of hackable thermostats, refrigerators, and security cameras.” Talk about ignorance. Just imagine what can happen if the government can’t access the electronics of terrorists that aim to murder your family. Imagine this scenario: You know for a fact that your neighbor down the street wants to murder you and your family. You overheard him in a cell phone call with someone else discuss the details, even when and how it’s going to be done. You go to the police for help, but without proof, they can’t do anything. You think about it and then realize, hey, he spoke on a cell phone. All they have to do is seize his cell phone and get the call. But wait, the police can’t do that without a warrant, and they can’t get a warrant without justifiable cause. Meanwhile, you go home, frustrated and scared. The next day, your nightmare comes through. You and your family are murdered. Another neighbor you confided in tells the police what you already said, “Seize the cell phone and check it for proof.” This is a simplified illustration, but I think you can get the idea.

Further, let’s look at the simple facts. First, the FBI doesn’t care about what most of us have to say. When it comes down to it, most of us really don’t have anything important to say on our cell phones. Second, even if they wanted to listen in on every little detail of every little phone call, or “spy”, as privacy advocates claim they’ll do, neither the FBI, CIA nor NSA together don’t have the manpower to do so. With millions of Americans owning cell phones, it just couldn’t be done. Fact is, in order to protect American citizens, the government must and should have access to our cell phones, any and every form of communication device without need for a warrant in order to protect us. I personally have no problem with the government listening in, but then I’m no criminal with nefarious intentions. Neither is the average American citizen. Now, as to the small number of people that do have sinister intentions, they have a reason to worry. As do some of our government leaders, Congressman or Senator et al that is afraid that the FBI, CIA or NSA may get a hold of something they're not supposed to be involved in. Face it, only those that have a reason to fear “big brother” is those that are planning to do something illegal. The federal government needs to know, too that in order to protect us.
I’m a big believer in privacy. I value my privacy above anything else. However, I also believe in common sense. I have an alarm system in my home complete with surveillance cameras. The alarm company knows my comings and goings and what goes on in my home. Do I care? A little. Is it possible that someone someday may misuse my alarm system for nefarious purposes? Yes, but slim. Is it worth it to me to give up a little bit of my privacy for the overall protection that I get in return? Yes. Without a doubt. As anyone can tell you, you have to break some eggs to make an omelet. Same goes for privacy and freedom. We have to give up a little to protect a lot.
Are you willing to keep your privacy, block the federal government’s ability to protect you, your family in the slight chance that they’re listening in on your phone calls? What is so important that you would risk your life to do so? That is just plain stupid. If you’re doing nothing wrong, if you’re saying nothing wrong, the government doesn’t care what you say and you have nothing to fear but fear itself.
I don’t know about anyone else, but in my house, we are willing to give up a bit of privacy in order to be safe. If it means letting the government into my phone to do that, then I’ll do it. In the overall scheme, it’s really a small price to pay in order to feel safe. Sorry, ACLU, but in this case, I believe you’re wrong. What do you think? How do you feel about it? Do you think that the government of the USA really wants to listen in on your phone calls just for amusement or invasion of privacy? How do you feel about safety versus privacy? How do you feel about the feeling safe over feeling “private”? In the end, security vs. privacy, which do you value most? That’s my humble take on it anyway. What’s yours? I'd love to hear it.

For more reading:

   Congress likely to side with Apple in iPhone unlocking debate:

The FBI vs. Apple
The White House should have avoided this legal and security showdown.

Encryption a growing threat to security:

As encryption spreads, U.S. grapples with clash between privacy, security:

Apple vs. FBI: A complete timeline of tech’s privacy standoff:

And another take on the locked phone:
Ken Colburn: Lessons for everyone from Apple vs. FBI:

  That’s it for this time. Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey.  One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book. Review it. Share it. Pass it along. 


    S. J. Francis 

    Advocate for the underdog, and cat, et al. 

    In my debut novel, Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family."  Available now from Black Opal Books and on-line retailers and indie booksellers. 

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And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2015 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.