Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are currently entrenched in a legal battle over encryption. Believe it or not, the outcome of that fight could affect the Latino community. Here’s why:
Wait, what are they fighting about?
The best explanation on why Apple and the FBI are fighting in court was given by John Oliver last week. If you don’t have 18 minutes to spare, here’s the basic gist: The FBI is currently in possession of an iPhone that belonged to Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two San Bernardino shooters. Unfortunately for the FBI, the iPhone is passcode-protected, and the government agency can’t break into it because of the privacy protections Apple has put in place. As a result, the FBI has asked Apple to update its software so that it can traverse those protections. Apple has said no.
Why Should I Care?
Because if Apple gives the FBI what they want, it’ll be a slippery slope. The FBI is trying to paint this as a “one time only” kind of thing. Apple says that if they give in, they’ll be opening a Pandora’s box where law enforcement officials can come to them at any point and ask them to do the same thing. This isn’t an unfounded fear. A recent court filing showed that Apple already has 12 requests asking for the same thing. Think of it this way: you know that really anxious and uncomfortable feeling you get when someone borrows your phone for like even a second? Well imagine that instead of it being your friend, it’s the cops. If that doesn’t freak you out, you’re just straight up lying.
Does this really matter?
— Thomas Wrobel (@wombel) June 2, 2015
At the end of the day, it boils down to the right to privacy, which is guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Fourth Amendment. The counterargument to this is that if you have nothing to hide, then you should have nothing to be worried about. With all due respect, that’s straight up dumb. I’m gonna let my homeboy Edward Snowden, who’s on Apple’s side, take this one.
Ok, that’s all fine and good, but how does it affect Latinos?
I’m getting there, gosh! Okay, so remember how I said that law enforcement agencies could and would ask Apple to unlock other iPhones for them? Well, one of those agencies could be Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Border Patrol. In fact, this is the argument that Eddy Cue, Apple’s highest ranking Latino executive, made to Univision recently. Obviously, Cue is representing Apple’s interest, but in this case they also happen to be our interests. And yes, this might sound like a too far-fetched scenario, but then again, law enforcement officials have already begun using social media to target immigrants.
Do you value your constitutionally-protected right privacy? If so click the share button below!