Friday, February 26, 2016

"ANYTHING you say..."

It is a paragraph of just six sentences and most everyone knows it by heart.  It is called the Miranda Warning or your Miranda Rights.  We all know what it implies and what it means from watching most every television cop show produced since 1966. 
For me the most important part of that paragraph is the phrase "Anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law."  CAN AND WILL.  Not MIGHT or if relevant COULD, can and will. 

My all time favorite movie screenplay is "My Cousin Vinny". There is not a moment of dialogue in that script that doesn't belong. Every word, however seemingly unimportant, leads us to the final conclusion.  If you have forgotten the plot, a couple of kids are wrongly charged with the murder of a convenience store clerk.  They think they have been detained because they forgot to pay for a can of tuna at the same store. Thinking that he is being interrogated for that petty crime, Ralph Machio's character, William Gambini is explaining what happened.  His story ends when he accidentally walks out of the store with the tuna can. 
The local policeman then says, "So that's when you shot the clerk."
In confusion of what he has just heard Gambini says, "I shot the clerk?"
The cop confirms with a look. 
In total disbelief Gambini tries to clarify, "I shot... The clerk?"
The policeman nods in the affirmative and one more time Gambini tries to understand and says,
"I.... Shot the clerk?" It is then that William Gambini realizes this is not about a can of tuna.
Later at the trial the prosecution asks the police to read Gambini's statement. With the cold recollection of courtroom testimony, the policeman reads this: "I ask him if that is when he shot the clerk.  He replied 'I shot the clerk.  I shot the clerk. I shot the clerk.' " ANYTHING you say, CAN AND WILL be used against you in a court of law.

If the FBI prevails in this iPhone dispute you can expand that to mean "Anything you text, tweet, like, chat, share, comment on, delete, friend, unfriend or buy with your Apple Pay, CAN and WILL be used against you in a court of law.  Unfortunately you will not have the right to remain silent because the ANYTHING will be retroactively stored on what you thought was a private iPhone. 
The FBI is trying to minimize their demands by saying it's just one iPhone.  It's just one terrorist and the fear of another terror attack is greater than every one's right to privacy.  They want to make it seem as if this is a bank safe deposit box and they need a key to see what is inside.  That court order is made all the time. Difference is in the case of a safe deposit box the key will only fit one box, not the whole vault's worth.  What the FBI is asking to have, in the iPhone case, is a key to every deposit box at the bank in question as well as every other box in every other bank world wide.  
Oh, Jay... But if you have done nothing wrong why would you care if the government can have access to your private stuff? Because the very government I grant access to my privacy also has the ability  to change what is legally right and wrong. It happens all the time. Sears used to sell hypodermic needles filled with heroin through the mail before it was declared illegal. Day before prohibition a bartender was just a merchant selling beer, the next day he was a criminal. 

If I have the "right to remain silent" my iPhone should have a similar protection.  
As you were,


P. Grecian said...

I am reminded of an old SNL sketch wherein Ed Asner said, "Remember--you can't put too much water into a nuclear reactor."
After he's gone the staff is in serious discussion as there is trouble with the reactor.
Does "You can't put too much water into a nuclear reactor" mean it's okay to put as much water into a nuclear reactor as you can?
Or does it mean, if you put too much water into a nuclear reactor, it will blow up?
As for government promises...well...

Roy said...

After the J. Edgar Hoover years and the way some leaders have used federal agencies to harass opponents ("enemies"), It is very hard to trust any government agency. "You can trust us. We're the FBI." I don't think so. Hoover has been gone for a long time. But the current fear that makes some willing to sacrifice freedom to gain security may end up with us living in what could be called a police state. In such a reality there is no free speech, no right to privacy, no expression of any dissent. This seems more dangerous to me than whatever might be found one one IPhone.