My phone: keep out!

On March 28, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that it had unlocked the iPhone of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook with the help of an unnamed third party. Prior to that, in February, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had issued a court order demanding that Apple help unlock that phone; Apple would not comply. After the phone was unlocked, DOJ drops the order. Conflict resolved. Right? No, it’s just the beginning. Immediately after dropping the terrorist iPhone case, the FBI filed another court directive against Apple, demanding aid in the unlocking of an iPhone 5s used in a Brooklyn drug-trafficking case.

We now live in a digital age where technology has changed the way we look at our lives and security. Our old laws are no longer relevant; new legislation is inevitable. We should be paying attention to what the new rules will look like and how they will impact our privacy rights.

Our government has shown a lack of transparency in the recent past when it comes to surveillance of the American public. Playing off American’s fears of national security after 9/11, the Patriot Act made it easier for our government to spy on its own people by giving them the access to look at our emails, phone records and banking and credit reports. 

Remember Edward Snowden, The former National Security Agency subcontractor who sparked a national controversy in 2013 when he leaked top-secret information about NSA surveillance activities? Those files revealed an order issued to Verizon to allow the government access to Americans’ phone records.

Most recently, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, and Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, have drafted legislation that would require technology companies to build ‘’backdoors’’ to the encryption within their products with the intention of assisting law enforcement. This proposed legislation seems to ignore the fact that our digital world does not exist only in America. Around the globe, there are millions of servers connecting billions of people to the Internet. Unfortunately, if there is a “backdoor” to encrypted products, nothing will stop hackers from entering our realm of privacy and picking and choosing which tidbits of our lives they wish to use for either good or evil. Technological backdoors could be the 21st century’s opening of Pandora’s box. 

There are pivotal moments in a nation’s history that determine the path we are to go down. I believe this is one of those issues that will set a new precedent. Do you want to live in a country where our government has the authority to spy on its own people? I’m not convinced that the FBI is being transparent or truthful in its claim that it is only interested in using “backdoor” features to unlock the iPhones of criminals. 

Rather than having our politicians and government agencies working together to unlock our digital privacy, I want to see them work together to protect it.  I want to be assured that in the future, no agency or hacker will be able to access my personal life via technology. If I wish to share with anyone or any agency any information, I will. I do not feel that my private life should be analyzed or entered through a “backdoor” without my consent.

Jaime Lojowsky