This is a repsonse to AG Barr's demand for live digital surveilance of all phones. It can be read at https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-keynote-address-international-conference-cyber. This is a paragraphically numbered response to each claim that I mailed to representatives and news outlets....
I just finished reading the AG's speech on why he needs Law Enforcement to have access to everyone’s email, texts, calls, and location data. His blatant disregard for the Supreme Court and the 1st & 4th Amendments is chilling. My doctorate is in theology, analyzing Greek and Hebrew texts and am an ordained Baptist minister. I also just received an MA in Cyber Security. So I'm trained in dissecting the logical flow of texts. https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-keynote-address-international-conference-cyber
I'm a Republican because I believe in personal responsibility and protecting children, but this issue strikes at the core of our Constitution and existence. This speech has convinced me to vote Democratic unless Trump does a 180 on this issue and brings his AG into line with what the Supreme Court has already ruled. His czarist attitude should bring down the Trump administration. Any of these issues quoted below should indicate Barr is not capable of upholding the Constitution
My Response to AG Barr speech of July 23, 2019. Paragraphs numbered by p# for reference.
His goal: p5 “enhancing cyber security is a national imperative”
His supposed threat: “advanced encryption techniques” Response: really? Encryption is the threat? Not criminals?
His supposed threat: the “[evisceration] of society’s ability to defend itself against other types of criminal threats” such as “criminals, terrorists, drug traffickers, human traffickers, fraudsters, and sexual predators”.
Response: Since none of those existed before encryption, defeating encryption will put all those criminals listed in jail then? (sarcasm)
Wants to “access communications in transit”.
P10 “When the Government has probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is within an individual’s zone of privacy, the Government is entitled to search for or seize the evidence, and the search USUALLY must be preceded by a judicial determination that ‘probable cause’ exists and be authorized by warrant.” Already, they don’t need a warrant but risk evidence being thrown out if they don’t get one unless, as The Supreme Court has ruled, there is reasonable belief that evidence will be destroyed OR there is an imminent threat to public safety.
P11: He goes on to argue that the only way to know there is no imminent threat to public safety is by reading your information, “if the public’s right of access is blocked, then these zones of personal privacy are converted into ‘law-free zones’ insulated from legitimate scrutiny.” Guilty until proven innocent.
P12: argues against the 4th amendment: “technology creates new spheres of privacy that the drafters of the Fourth Amendment could not have though to enumerate.”
Response: data is data whether written on paper or computer. They didn’t want troops rifling through people’s houses again looking for incriminating evidence without probable cause. He's attempting to make it illegal to write with invisible ink.
His Logical fallacy but strong assertion is that there is no other sign of malicious intent besides what is done on a phone or computer. His proposition is that you can’t know what someone is doing without reading their thoughts (devices). It’s not possible to blow up a building using only a device. According to the laws of physics, there must be potential energy stored in a critical location and then that energy must be released by an ignitor. Then a building just might collapse if other factors are taken into consideration.
He thinks the only indication someone would do this is in their emails, texts, and location ID. That is his assertion and why he thinks the 4th amendment doesn’t apply. I’d like to know how someone can perform an act of terrorism without doing anything besides using their phone or computer. Perhaps Area 51 scientists have finally developed wormholes that have been leaked to terrorists so that they can perform all the illegal acts necessary to do their terroristic deed without being seen. (obviously sarcastic) Maybe the terrorists have acquired Darkman capabilities or stealth automobiles so that they can steal the items necessary to blow up a building, then sneak into the building, and place it in that critical design spot to cause an implosion, then remove themselves from the building and somehow without detection trigger that explosion all in a manner where none of the many illegal acts committed will ever be seen.
He continues with the double talk by quoting cases where the High Court supported rights over technology, and then goes back to where the court enumerated its exceptions. Using the case of automobiles, he states that the rights of people can be ignored if it can be shown that a warrant would be issued if it had been applied for.
P15 “allows police to seize and search a car without a warrant so long as it can later be shown that they had probable cause to support the investigation.” This is not how it actually works if the two exceptions are not met. LivePD has been on long enough to show that if a citizen does not consent to the search of a vehicle, the police will always 1) use means to get probable cause (drug sniffing dogs) or 2) seize the vehicle and apply for the warrant BEFORE searching. I have yet to ever read of a case where a request for a warrant for the search of a car was denied by a court. If it has happened, then the system is working. However, Police Officers are agents of the courts and as such, their opinions and impressions about such situations are usually trusted by judges.
P16 “and when these advances threaten public safety by thwarting effective law enforcement, the response should be to preserve lawful access.”
They have lawful access with a warrant, unless the 2 exceptions apply. One has to wonder why he is so against appearing before magistrates to get a warrant when the two critical exemption already exist? He is using these two reasons to say there should not be a right to privacy when there already is an exception in the case of imminent danger or the destruction of evidence.
P17 “the deployment of warrant-proof encryption is already imposing huge costs on society.” If this is true, then the terrorists must have been enabled by some other technology to commit their acts without any physical actions. He goes on to say, “it seriously degrades the ability of law enforcement to detect and prevent crime before it occurs.” So now he does want to lock you up before you commit any crime. This is the heart of his speech and shows his desire to lock you up for your thoughts instead of your crimes, in order to “prevent crime.” Another Constitutional violation.
The foundation of the warrant system is the belief of “innocent until proven guilty.” He is bypassing the warrant system with assertions of “we have to assume guilt so we can make sure there is no eminent threat to public safety.” Read it again, “law enforcement [should] detect and prevent crimes before they occur.” !!
P18 He continues the fear-mongering like they did before locking up the Japanese after Pearl Harbor “mounting number of victims—men, women and children”. He further enflames the fires to lock people up before crimes are committed with examples of drug trafficking from Mexico. Like LEOs were successful in stopping drugs from Mexico before encryption came along?
The foundation of Freedom of Speech is also attacked in this speech. He wants to read your emails and texts to know your thoughts so they don’t have to do the old fashioned, tough, and ethical police work of the past. Plotting a violent act is already a crime.
P20. He goes on to contend that “prosecuting the drug war by traditional law enforcement means are dim” without “the ability to detect and prevent crimes before they occur” if we keep the 4th amendment. He’s ignoring that all online data is already accessible and that Apple, Microsoft, Google, and all online providers have already given the government access to everything stored online.
P21. He continues using “warrant-proof technology” to degrade the importance of our rights. Through the entire speech he degrades the 4th amendment and argues it should be done away with through the usual fear-mongering.
P22. “warrant-proof encryption will inevitably propel an expansion of criminal activity.” More fear mongering and more degrading of our right to privacy and free speech. More “Guilty until we read your data.”
P23. “because we cannot access the messages, we cannot prevent the murders” as if a LEO reading the message instantly stop any criminal activity that may be planned. Secret Service must have their hands full since all the “traditional” and legal protection methods don’t work any longer. (sarcasm)
P24. He states that police work and warrants are not “an appropriate mechanism for lawful access” further insulting the intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials around the country while taking away our 4th and 1st Amendment rights. He goes on to say he want real time filtering and forwarding of messages to Law Enforcement “whether it is stored on a device or in transmission.” The NSA already has copies of every digital exchange made in the US and most of the world stored in their data center. HE WANTS MORE.
P26. In case you don’t think he means your computer; he wants software companies to “allow lawful access to encrypted data-at-rest on disks or other storage devices.” Data-at-rest is your cell phone, your PC, your Google email account, any data that not being transmitted. As far as your phone conversations and text messages, he says we “need different kinds of solutions for communications and data in transit.”
P27. In this paragraph he makes his motive clear and throws down the gauntlet. He criticizes Apple for not decrypting phones and says Apple’s business model of allowing customers to encrypt their own data is “illegitimate, and so is any demand for the product.” That means that APPLE USERS don’t have a right buy Apple and could be prosecuted for owning an iPhone with strong encryption.
P28 He goes on to claim that warrant-proof encryption blocks “society’s interest in retaining lawful access” and that if the access falls into the hands of Russians, Chinese, or Mexican drug cartels, it is the “relative risk” we accept.
P29. Next he insults the consumer market by saying our data does not deserve the level of protection of “the Nation’s nuclear launch codes” and that he’s not even applying this to businesses that need to protect their patents and trade secrets. “We are talking about consumer products and services such as messaging, smart phones, e-mail, and voice and data applications.” And you thought I was exaggerating saying he wanted to read your emails and texts.
In P30 he states he doesn’t care how much it costs companies to provide access to live data.
In Paragraph 31, he mentions the CALEA law which says that telecommunications companies must assist law enforcement when needed. So why do they need this further unfettered unwarranted (literally) access to every person in the world’s emails and texts? So they can “detect and prevent crime before it occurs.” --P17.
In p32, he goes on to play the, “everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t we” childish game. What did your parents say when you said, “Richard and Jeff did it first!”
He closes with another line in the sand to technology companies when he says, “while we remain open to a cooperative approach, the time to achieve that may be limited.” What does a politician mean when he says “may be?” He means “is”.
He ends his speech with his continued degradation of the 4th amendment, fear mongering, and pressure. “As this debate has dragged on, and deployment of warrant-proof encryption has accelerated, our ability to protect the public from criminal threats is rapidly deteriorating. The status quo is exceptionally dangerous, unacceptable, and only getting worse.”
If our 1st Amendment, 4th Amendment, and property rights are such a burden to law enforcement, I’ll reply what he said to the companies he put in the cross-hairs, “Welcome to civil society” and a civil society doesn’t give up blood-bought, war won civil rights just to make law enforcement’s job easier. Our Constitution was written to make law enforcement provide probable cause before violating citizens rights. He wants to bypass Constitutional Protections as defined by the Supreme Court and in doing so bypass the High Court itself while proceeding on an assumption of guilt with all law enforcement activities.
How can the Attorney General of our Country not defer to the Supreme Court? The Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement must have a warrant to search a personal digital device. But our AG doesn’t want to follow the Court. He wants to go around them by pressuring IT companies to do what he wants. Apple has been a recent proponent of the Court’s stance, and yet the AG claims that the threats are so so so bad that we have to give up our rights just to live our peaceful lives. Anyone else hearing echoes of Hitler? By now you should be getting visions from the History Channel of Stalin’s grip of death over Russia.
There have been a few cases where even when defendants were told to unlock their phones by a judge, they didn’t do it. There have been other cases where the court ruled unlocking your phone/data with a PIN or fingerprint is self-incrimination so it’s not admissible in court. The AG should be working toward a ruling from the High Court that would make certain this remaining question. Going by past rulings, the Court would probably rule that forcing a defendant to unlock a phone would be permitted. But instead, Barr seeks to throw out the 243 years of precedent and procedure that protected “innocent until proven guilty.” His desire to overturn that foundational principle and create a “prove you are innocent” society is the monster of nightmares.
And what about those who work for government, law enforcement, intelligence, or the judiciary? Will all their communication be available? Who gets to read government and LEO communications? Who oversees their unwarranted monitoring of everyone’s communication?
And worst of all, this AG thinks that making non-accessible encryption a crime will mean that terrorists will not use it? Does he even live on this planet? If he does understand that criminals use criminal activities to further their actions, then this is even worse because it means he's after the thoughts of the everyday mom & pop American who are just trying to pay the mortgage and feed the kids, not the terrorists he claims.