Texas Rangers Issue Order for Apple to Unlock iPhone SE Owned by Texas Church Shooter

This might be a photo of a Texas Ranger or FBI agent. Or it’s a child who doesn’t understand what they’re doing. I can’t tell the difference anymore.

Hey, I’m not making a mockery of American justice, that’s the job of FBI agents and Texas Rangers, apparently. Despite knowing that the shooter in the Texas church shooting acted alone from his history of such violence, had no ties to terrorist or militia groups, and was only able to get a gun due to the Air Force’s lax enforcement of gun control laws in response to domestic abuse, the FBI and Texas Rangers want to get into the shooter’s iPhone. They know nothing’s there, it’s the principle of the matter. No, really, they’re using a case that stirs up strong emotions to try to set a precedent. This way, they’ll be able to get into future phones.

Beyond the fact that there’s nothing on this phone, and ignoring the fact that the phone could have been unlocked if the FBI and police didn’t sit on it for two days straight, there’s something these bumbling law enforcement organizations seem to be missing: Apple didn’t make the iPhone SE as insecurely as the iPhone 5c in the San Bernardino case was. That means they likely can’t unlock it either now. They definitely can’t unlock the LG phone the Rangers also asked Apple to unlock.

I’ll shout that a little louder for the guys in the back eating their boogers:

Even if you didn’t royally screw up, the phone has nothing, and now Apple can’t unlock it, even if they wanted to.

We’ve gone over this so many times before, I’ll just give you a quick rundown:

  • Forcing Apple to write software would be highly unconstitutional. It would be a violation of their first amendment rights.
  • Apple can’t unlock the iPhone SE, even if they wanted to, because they can’t load an easily hacked version of iOS like they could for older devices.
  • There is nothing of substance on this phone to help them catch a (dead) bad guy who worked alone, and he has no ties to terrorist groups. Despite all evidence pointing to him acting alone, the FBI and Texas Rangers are claiming this as a motivation.
  • If a backdoor is created, every smartphone in the world would be compromised. The FBI would be putting people living under authoritative regimes (no, not the U.S., though I’m beginning to understand your confusion) in danger. They’d be risking lives of you and your family. Your phone would be a target for theft and your banking information stolen with it.
  • They also asked Apple to unlock the shooter’s old LG phone, a phone made by a completely different company, further displaying their incompetence in the matter.
  • The FBI is only doing this to gain power, to set precedence. They do not need this phone, they want that control.
  • More on Round 2 of Apple vs the FBI here.

Apple hasn’t responded to the Texas Rangers’ demand for their participation in unlocking the iPhone SE in question, but they will most certainly tell them no again. Apple always works with law enforcement when requested, giving as much unencrypted data as they can and even decrypting iCloud backups (something they’re working to make impossible as well). This generally isn’t a real problem. But, the FBI continues to botch their investigations, then demands Apple come in to rescue them. Unfortunately, that “rescue” would involve creating a method of compromising the security on every iPhone, and the secret would get out. With the precedence set, Android phones wouldn’t be far behind. That’s why Apple has taken a stand to never decrypt smartphones for law enforcement, to protect you, your privacy, your family, and people all over the world. It’s so dire, even the NSA has told the FBI to back off and allow Apple to keep the smartphones encrypted. I had hoped such silliness would die when that Hatch-act violating authoritarian James Comey was no longer the director of the FBI, but it seems the FBI is just as careless and uncaring about our rights as ever.

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