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The debate is fairly pointless, govt will do whatever they want anyway.

The vast majority of people just vote down predestined party lines, and swing voters aren't all the bright educated people we like to think they are. It's just a fact that half of all people are of below average intelligence.

Politicians should be a better than average cohort for intelligence, but judging by the incomprehensible jabber they espouse on tech matters I doubt it'll change anytime soon. They seem to spend most of their time trying to dick each other over and make themselves look good rather than actually get shit done.

Saying the government will do what it wants is a vast oversimplification of how the government works. The government doesn't speak with a single voice. The FBI can want one thing, the judge in this case another, a different judge something else, and each and every member of congress something different altogether. Even within the executive branch in the US there are differences in opinion: Tor, for instance, is partially funded by the US Department of State and the National Science Foundation (according to their donor page: https://www.torproject.org/about/sponsors.html.en) while it has been opposed by law enforcement and the NSA.

The importance of a debate like this is it allows the various parts of our governments (and their bosses: us) to state their positions and work out a solution. What that solution is is not a foregone conclusion in the least (cf. the Clipper Chip, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipper_chip)

> The debate is fairly pointless, govt will do whatever they want anyway.

Clearly they never had problem with that. The problem they have is that it takes NSA up to 8 months to crack a key for one single iPhone, and the list of crack-awaiting devices grows every day.

That's is what they are truly complaining about and as others pointed - they try to use this case of supposedly pro-terrorist Apple to force them to give out the key that would open any and all other I-devices.

I bet a bottom dollar if Apple asks to hand the device and they will retrieve info off of it, FBI would come up to every possible excuse -- including the one that the cannot trust Apple employees -- not to hand it over. They want the KEY, not any other way around!

How do you figure the government has the ability to "do what they want" in this case?

I don't think it's a surprise that it has often been the case that some Elements in the gvmt are able to rationalize some objectives they have can trump the 'laws' and other rules ordinary citizens would be held accountable to. For example, The Patriot Act and other measures can be broad enough in scope to allow interpretation which would have some elements think they are invested with the power of spying on their own citizens living within the borders of their country. That's just one example. Iran Contra is also another one, and the list goes on ... The impetus for this type of rogue action will always be present in the circles of power, to allow them to keep their positions.

I don't understand. If the government could do the programming to do it, they would. That's what I'm asking: can the government really be doing "whatever it wants" in this case? They seem a bit stymied by the whole PIN wipe thing.

They can pass laws requiring software to be backdoored without allowing the company to notify the public (similar to what happened to Lavabit), or can use three letter agencies to backdoor most software anyway (similar to what happened with Dual_EC_DRBG).

Those laws won't be passed in secret.

Declare that the phone is a banana and therefore not entitled to expectation of privacy.

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