I’m beginning to build up a full head of steam. The first step seems straightforward. I’m going to write my congressman. It may not have much effect, but if enough of us write, it might.
Here’s my letter to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. I’ll be sending similar letters to Sen. Ed. Markey and Rep. Katherine Clark.
2016, March 16
The Honorable Elizabeth Warren
317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Warren:
I write about the Apple FBI affair. Please oppose any attempt by government to weaken the security and privacy of all Americans by demanding security “backdoors” in our technology or to require the conscription of Americans or American companies to weaken their own security.
First, regarding backdoors. I hold a PhD in Electrical Engineering and have worked with computer systems and computer security for over 40 years. I am coauthor of the well-regarded book on E-commerce systems “Designing Systems for Internet Commerce.” In other words, I know quite a lot about this area. There is simply no way to create a backdoor that does not also reduce the security of the system for everyone.
Second, speaking as an ordinary citizen, I do not know how the courts will rule on the government’s request to use the All Writs Act to compel Apple to write software to unlock the San Bernadino iPhone, but my own view is that the constitution does not and should not allow it.
The government is being deliberately disingenuous when it claims this case is only about one terrorist’s phone. I have no sympathy for the killers, but the privacy and security of everyone is at risk should the government prevail. Should that happen, I expect you to propose and support legislation that outlaws backdoors and forbids the conscription of individuals or companies into the government’s service. This has happened before. In 1980, Congress passed the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 which corrected the overreach of government in Lurcher v. Stanford Daily.
Lawrence C. Stewart