Should Apple Head Nerd/Designer/Tech-Genius-Guy Tim Cook be waterboarded? Like a witch in Salem back in the late 17th century? Because this iPhone encryption thing is getting downright medieval.

But verily, let us enlighten ourselves on the issue. The All Writs Act, a federal statute that first saw light in 1789 as part of the Judiciary Act of … you guessed it, 1789; gives the courts broad-ranging flexibility to issue writs deemed necessary and appropriate. It has been updated several times, and has been applied as recently as the 1970’s in order to essentially compel phone companies to install a device called a pen register, to log numbers on a given phone line. Essentially, to eavesdrop.

We now have a given iPhone pertaining to the terrorists – not shooters, terrorists – involved in the bloody San Bernardino attacks. And the FBI would like to decrypt the data on said phone, to see who else had possible connections with Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik. A rather reasonable request by any standards, including the Obama Administration’s standards.

Alabama native son Tim Cook and Apple, the designer-perfect tech dynamo he inherited (and help re-build) from the late Steve Jobs, does not want to comply. They refuse to install a back-door that the FBI could use to decrypt a phone. The sacred cow of privacy is at stake, apparently. And the ACLU and Amnesty International have thrown their support behind Apple and Tim Cook. As well as the usual technocrats who rebel at any limits imposed on their abilities to do whatever their imaginations can create.

Never mind that the All Writs Act, a practical bit of legislation that – the genius of the founding fathers is once again evident – applies perfectly to this very situation. Never mind that a judge has to issue a writ, and thus has to have been convinced of the necessity of issuing a writ. Never mind that both parties and the administration feel the FBI has the law on their side.

No, tech is beyond the sweaty legal and political scuffles of the unwashed non-members of the technocracy. I code, therefore I exist. Code above all. Code above community (except our tight little really-high-IQ, egotistical community). Code above the law, and the constitution. Code above the decisions of a nation state. It’s the future don’t you see? The Nation State should dissolve itself before the titanium and chrome firewalls of encryption.

Because privacy is the only thing that matters in the end. It is the one true supreme wisdom. Oh yes, brand matters too. And the iPhone might lose some of that seamless sheen should its awesome encryption be diluted in the interests of the law. And that might affect sales and profits. But Tim Cook couldn’t be worried about such a grubby little reality, could he?

Apparently, this a legal battle that has been a long time coming. Let us pray that the justice system provides as swift a conclusion as it is able to wisely provide. It will come too late to catch any collaborators of Fayook and Malik. But, if the justice system indeed compels Apple to provide a reasonable level of decryption, then it will give law enforcement a desperately needed tool in the fight against the evil of terrorism, and the corrosive effects of organized crime.

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