This huge brouhaha between the FBI and Apple has escalated into a battle royale between the righteous and the wicked. And, as often happens, both sides are claiming to be on the side of the angels. With so many good guys in attendance, it's amazing that world-wide badness is still so pervasive. But you can't blame television for everything.
The Feds want Apple to create specialized software in order to bypass the auto-erase feature of the San Bernardino terrorists' iPhone. They don't just want access to a backdoor, they want Apple to design a backdoor, construct it then hand them the only key. And snacks. They want snacks too.
It's the age-old battle between security and privacy, safety and confidentiality, minty freshness and chocolaty richness. But once breached, there's no going back. It's a slope more slippery than a caffeinated eel in a bathtub full of bacon grease. No such thing as a virgin repair kit, you know.
The FBI says they only need to do this once. Yeah, right. Federal investigators in 11 other jurisdictions have already filed motions seeking access to suspects' iPhone data. A Manhattan DA has 175 phones he wants to crack. Get ready to open a Pandora's Box of 4th amendment violations, full of venomous snakes ready to spring out and bite us in the butt. Repeatedly.
The problem is, you let one government into your back door and every other government is going to break land-speed records to stand in line to do the same and not all of them are familiar with the concept of lubricant, if you catch my drift. Besides, no global company, not even one located in Cupertino, California, can say yes to Obama and nyet to Putin. China? North Korea? Seriously?
The FBI says we need to trust them. Isn't this the same FBI that vowed for years they weren't conducting illegal surveillance on Americans until it was revealed they were? And the same FBI that offered flawed testimony in thousands of court cases resulting in prosecutions, some of which led to executions? You mean that FBI? I wouldn't trust that FBI as far as I could throw two handfuls of glue.
And the fallacy of the backdoor code remaining secure is so laughable it should be green-lighted its own sitcom on Comedy Central. The claim that nobody else would be able to get their hands on this technology is either woefully ignorant or further demonstration of an ineptitude approaching that of a Sherman tank in the upper branches of an elm tree.
The only way to guarantee security in this, the 7th year of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, is through a self-imposed sentence of solitary confinement. The term "internet privacy" is like saying "transparent cement" or "blazing snow." Last October a 16-year-old kid hacked CIA Director John Brennan's personal email. Why doesn't the FBI hire him?
Sides are being chosen. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg supports Apple while Bill Gates has come down on the side of the FBI. He would. And finally, supporting the FBI's position, the walking contradiction known as Donald Trump called for a patriotic boycott of Apple in a tweet. That he sent out on his iPhone. You can't make stuff up like this.
Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and margarine smuggler.