I don’t know about you, but I consider defending our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms a prime objective. Any politician who is willing to bypass the Constitution and strip us of our inalienable rights is not a friend of mine. Any politician that attempts to sell the ‘snake oil’ solution of giving up liberty in hopes that the government can issue an edict that will keep us safe, is not my friend or a friend of the Constitution.
Every politician who is elected of national office is required to take an oath to both protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. They are not afforded the luxury or privilege to cherry-pick which part of that document they protect or defend. They are required by the Constitution and by moral decency to honor all of it whether they like what it says or not. That is how we have survived for over 240 years and how we will continue if we do.
Some have accused me of being a Trump Cultists and a Trump apologist and insist that I never criticize anything he does. That is blatantly false and today I am going to question an action that this administration, like administrations before him, is pursuing. The push by the federal government for tech companies to give the government ‘backdoor access’ to encrypted applications is, in my view, questionable. I am concerned about the violation or potential violation of our constitutional right of protection from ‘unreasonable search and seizure.’
Some will argue, but if it keeps us safe from one terrorist attack then it is worth it. That is the same argument for ‘gun control’ but rejected when it comes to abortion or the border. It is somewhat cherry-picking and the words of Benjamin Franklin echo in my mind. He said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I know the word deserve is a bit harsh, but the truth is that if we give up liberty hoping for safety, we will end up with neither. The country and the constitution will suffer as a result.
Encryption is the process used to encode data to prevent unwanted third parties from accessing a user’s personal profiles. The algorithms for encryption are many and varied, but their intended purpose is to protect you and me for the nefarious intrusion into our privacy and personal information. Smartphone and computers utilize encryption to permanent lock our data in case of theft or if an unauthorized individual attempt to access our devices.
Of course, those are not always successful, and hackers also use algorithms to break the codes and steal our personal data. Viruses such as the infamous Ryuk ransomware has been used by hackers to successfully encrypt the files and steal information from hundreds of businesses around the world.
I can appreciate the government wanting to protect us from Terrorist and I want to them to be able to do just that. However, if they ignore the privacy of law-abiding citizens and violate our constitutional rights, is that the right approach? Terrorist organizations use apps like Telegram which features end to end encryption to communicate between each other and disseminate their radical propaganda. That is dangerous and must be addressed. Hackers and drug dealers also use that application for their diabolical purposes to communicate and safeguard their information. If it is documented that there is criminal activity then a warrant from the courts could and should be used, but not blanket access by the government.
The 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California is an example of the dilemma and difficulty posed for the government and citizens. The Islamist Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik took 14 lives and injured 22 more in their attack. During the investigation the FBI recovered Farook’s work phone, the iPhone 5C, but were unable unlock the device. They requested Apple to create software that would allow them to access the iPhone of Farook. Apple refused to do so, and a third party helped the FBI unlock the iPhone, but the information retrieved was limited.
Apple’s refusal escalated the discussion of where the line is to be drawn between National Security and Consumer Privacy. That is a very important line and one that is not always easily distinguishable. I am very much interested in protecting against terrorist and very determined to maintain our Constitutional Rights. That is the kind of issue that could keep me awake at night. Being torn is an understatement.
Edward Snowden leaked information about the expansive and extensive government surveillance. I am not trying to defend him, but the revelation was troubling and the extent to which ‘big brother’ is watching is concerning. With the immense arsenal of the federal government to spy on citizens the encryption issue may sound almost moot but is it?
The loss of privacy by law-abiding American citizens should always be a concern. Let me offer a possible scenario and you decide how far you think the government should be able to go in their quest for information. If the government can deem that it has the right to all personal information and private communications for national security purposes what is next? Could that not also argue that they have the right to control and determine what technological devices and technology we are allowed to utilize? Could they not seek to be allowed to audit all your personal files on your home computer, tablet, or any other encrypted device at any moment for any reason. All in the name of national security?
The conundrum is that we, as private citizens, want to be safe and protected but we also want to maintain our constitutional right to privacy. Our current legal system is based on the premise and idea that any person is innocent until proven guilty. I fear that allowing unfettered access by the federal government to backdoor encryption will violate our personal privacy to the point that we will find ourselves not only unsafe but under the thumb of the tyrannical elitists in government who want total control. I do not want America to become another China or any other despotic country where people no longer have true freedom.
Yes, I am perplexed and troubled. However, I continue to stand for the Constitution and our inalienable rights and freedoms. I also stand staunchly for discovering any criminal and terrorist and prosecuting them to the full extent of the law. It is a perplexing situation and one that is not easily answered but with the push of the Left toward Total Control and Socialism, I fear for the personal freedom of all citizens.
God bless you and God bless America is my prayer. Lord, please keep us free while keeping us safe!