Wow. So, I’m trolling through TV channels and I came across a great debate on CSPAN on July 8th. It was originally aired live on June 6, 2017. The CSPAN broadcast can be found here.
The debate was sponsored by Intelligence Squared, and their podcast of the debate can be found here.
The Debate Question:
“Should Tech Companies be Required to Assist Law Enforcement to Help Law Enforcement Execute Search Warrants to Access Customer Data?”
- Proponents (YES):
Stewart A. Baker, Former Assistant Secretary, DHS, Office of Policy
John C. Yoo, Deputy Assistant Atty. General, DOJ, Office of Legal Counsel
- Opponents (NO):
Catherine Crump, Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley, School of Law
Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary, DHS
Prior to the debate, the audience polling numbers were:
The Proponent’s case was predicated, of course, on the Apple vs. DOJ case in reference to the San Bernadino terrorist attack. Also cited was a case in New York where a woman opened the door (presumably to someone she knew) and was killed. Her diary in on an encrypted iPhone. They cited the legal responsibility of all individuals to assist law enforcement when asked. They also cite the 4th Ammendment protections against “Unreasonable” searches and siezures. The Supreme Court has traditionally ruled that siezures can be legal if it serves the “Common interest”.
The Opponents argued that the use of encryption is critical for the protection of the individual. The government already has more data available to them than at any point in history. In the case of the San Bernadino attack, the Government spent millions on unsuccessful litigation, and further spend millions to a third-party company that successfully gained access to the iPhone. There was no useful evidence on the phone. They point out that if you are a forensic investigator, there will always be those cases where information to solve a crime just isn’t available. There will always be “Cold Cases”. As such, why promote a law that, at its best case, might help those “one-off” cases. That is the “Uncommon interest”.
The winner of the debate was measured not on the raw poll data, but the Delta of the Before and After polling data. The final polling data was this:
And the debate winner was…… “LaLa Land”. You do the math.
As for me, I would side with the Opponents. Often times, you just have to put in the leg-work, You’ve got to be more creative than the “bad guys”. Data is data. It doesn’t show everything. Reality Winner’s leaked NSA document is a classic example. The Analyst that wrote that paper should be fired. Period. To classify those technology bullets as Top Secret SCI (Sensitive Compartment Information) is a gross insult to most Private Sector people that do security. In other words, NSA isn’t aware of the skill levels available in the civilian marketplace.
Since the virus signatures never made it into A/V products (I did put forth a query to DHS’ Media Center), I wonder about what, exactly, the NSA does to protect US Citizens? It’s hard to imagine Reality Winner winning her case but there is one thing that is certain:
The entire US Government, including the Intelligence Community and Law Enforcement, has been “dumbed-down” by data.