Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Square Peg – We’re All Going to Gitmo

The Square Peg – We’re All Going to Gitmo
© S. Bradley Stoner

Well ol’ Duncan and Bingo Bob were going at it again yesterday. I swear those two live to argue… at least with each other. They can fight about almost anything and they can get LOUD. Folks who don’t know these two might be tempted to call the cops on them. Of course, they don’t know that Duncan is a retired cop. I wandered over. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

“So what’s this all about?”

“This moron,” Bob jabbed a finger at Duncan, “doesn’t believe in the Constitution.”

“What?! Of course I do, but at least I understand it. I don’t think you’ve ever read it. Do they even teach English in New Jersey? I’m pretty sure they don’t teach American Government.”

“Watch it, bub!”

“Okay… okay, let’s back it off a notch,” I interjected before this deteriorated any further. “What’s this all about?”

“Apple,” Duncan said.

“The company or the fruit?” I asked.

“Geez, don’tcha watch the news?!” Bob shot.

“Must be the company,” I conceded.

“They’re not cooperating with the Feds in an investigation. How un-American is that?” Duncan said indignantly.

“It’s as American as APPLE pie,” retorted Bob. “Right to privacy and freedom from illegal search and all that stuff.”

“Been on that militia site again, Bob? The Fourth Amendment says, ‘"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.’ I learned that in high school” I threw in.”

“To-may-toes, to-mah-toes,” Bob returned.

Duncan’s face was beginning to flush. I was expecting steam to come out of his ears soon. “Let it out before you blow a gasket,” I said to him.

“Look,” Duncan said through gritted teeth, “There was a crime… more than that… a terrorist act. There’s probably important security info on that iPhone. They’ve got probable cause.”

“In this case, that’s true,” I replied.

“Geesh… you guys always gang up on me,” Bob whined.

“Hold on,” I said. “I said in this case… but what the FBI wants is a special back door to get around all passwords. I think that’s a dangerous proposition. It’s like a John Doe warrant… and in my view those are unconstitutional.

“Yer takin’ Bob’s side?!” Duncan asked incredulously.

“In this case, yes.”

Duncan just shook his head. “And you all want law enforcement to keep you safe… then you take away our tools to do that.”

Bob, who had been darting looks between Duncan and me, now focused. At least I thought that was the case, but he asked in a lost voice, “What’s a back door? Something they can rear end us with?”

Duncan slapped his forehead. I just stared.

“Well?” Bob demanded.

“It’s a special access point to the program… programmers almost always leave a back door only they know about so they can fix problems… bugs… in the code they write.”

“Geez, if they give the Feds that, we’re all in trouble. What if the bad guys start using sports stats to send messages? Huh? If they do that, we’re all going to Gitmo. I’d hate to get tagged as a terrorist for texting my golf scores,” Bob moaned.

“Wish they’d send you to Gitmo,” Duncan mumbled under his breath.

I didn’t ask him whether he meant Bob or me. I didn’t want to know.