Why Apple should NOT hack the iPhone for the FBI.

Posted on February 23, 2016
Filed Under America, Rants and Ramblings | Leave a Comment

cracked-phoneLaw enforcement would surely like the ability to be able to retrieve data from locked or encrypted cell phones of criminals.

Should Apple be forced to co-operate with the US Government and provide at a minimum the data from an encrypted / locked cell phone even if they don’t allow the FBI to crack the phone using methods they provide?

A reasonable person might say “Of Course” initially. Especially for terrorist charges. In this case a cell phone owned by the San Bernardino shooter.

Try to keep up. Lets discuss what this WILL lead to. Not what it might lead to, but where it must lead.

Apple creates new firmware allowing the phone to be accessed….because the court ordered it.  (But only for this particular case). The cell phone data is provided to the FBI. But not the software used to access the phone.

Precedent has been set. “Precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts.

FBI now says we have many cases, IMPORTANT cases… but we can’t access the cell phone data…. (Note that all these cases may not be terror related, some may be drug related, or perhaps a serial killer, but it is IMPORTANT!). Argues that this has been accomplished before, citing the previous Precedent.

A court orders a cell phone provider to provide the data on the cell phones…one at a time to Apple, Samsung or whomever manufactured the cell phones.  NOTE that these are no longer all Terror related incidents..but they are IMPORTANT!

You can see in our hypothetical world, that the courts are now ordering data for lesser things than Terror or murder? Drug rings? What if the I.R.S gets a court order?  We would have to rely on a judge to filter these requests to see if they warrant violating someones right to privacy. All judges aren’t the same some are less worried about privacy. Sooner or later the code used to access the phone will be leaked. Then no ones data using that phone / OS would be safe.

Some will say that if you have nothing to hide it should not be an issue.

Your right to privacy is a major issue! If you are arrested and have nothing to hide then provide the access yourself to the police.

You lock or encrypt your phone because you have personal information on the device. If its stolen, your data is still safe.

What about incidental information on a phone. What if, unrelated to your current charge, you  perhaps received a text from a friend that he scored some dope. Can the police then investigate your friend?

That may be simplistic but I can certainly see it happening. Once you start allowing access where does it end? Surely at first it will just be terror charges….but will end up for more minor charges and just fishing by the police looking for anything illegal. Perhaps just entering the border to return home from abroad…your phone will be accessed?

I am not saying I am against criminals being arrested. I am saying that I am against violating a persons privacy to achieve it.

The ends do no justify the means. Not in the long run.

There is one case where I am in favor of cracking a persons phone.  If it might contain actionable information to save a life in an emergent situation. Such as a child is kidnapped by a group and one of the group is captured but won’t talk. Their phone could contain timely information needed to rescue the child.  Many very rational sounding cases can be created for exceptions.

The line has to be drawn somewhere. My fear is it will be drawn such that ones privacy is to easily violated.

UPDATE: After posting this Gawker had this to say. http://gawker.com/justice-wants-apple-to-unlock-at-least-twelve-other-iph-1760772528

Another UPDATE: Court rules in NY that Apple does not have to co-operate.
“Orenstein concluded that Apple is not obligated to assist government investigators against its will .”


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Jackson County Amateur Radio Field Day 2014

Posted on July 3, 2014
Filed Under Amateur Radio, Gulf Coast | Leave a Comment

I recently joined the local Amateur Radio club and participated in their annual Field Day.
During this 24 hour period, groups and individuals demonstrate their ability to operate using in some cases emergency power such as generators or alternate energy sources. They build/assemble antennas in non standard locations away from their permanent locations.  They may coordinate with local EOC’s or authorities and demonstrate our ability to pass traffic/messages via non-standard but very reliable paths.

In our case we set up and operated out of the Emergency shelter facility in Vancleave, MS.  A great facility I might add.  I personally operated CW or morse code during my stint at the rig.  Was kind of rusty as I haven’t really operated CW in a long time. But it came back fast.  Had a great time even staying awake till the wee hours of the morning. I have been a licensed amateur radio operator since I was 14 years old…

I am happy that I am able to get back into a really fun hobby.

Visit the Jackson County Amateur Radio Assoc. site for information about the club.

Here are some pics of the setup and stations utilized. Had a great time and met some great hams. Be sure to see the cookies and items my wife made for the group and decorated them ‘ham style’.

If you want all the pics you can download them all in a zip file here. <- Thats for the club members that wanted copies of the photos…
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Working on new project

Posted on May 22, 2014
Filed Under Gulf Coast | Leave a Comment

Well not exactly a *new* project. I created and host the tourism/community  related information site: Gulf Coast Information Guide, which is intended to provide all kinds of information for the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. Its been around since 1995.


Recently we expanded and gave it a face lift. Its huge. Completely database driven. And all the information is “organic” meaning its self hosted and not simply pulled from other sites or from RSS/XML feeds. So designing the backend services was fun. Data entry and keeping data fresh is, well challenging. But thats always been the problem. Keeping current *useful* data.

Only the Mississippi site is currently online. But the others will soon follow. Just the cosmetics is what I am working/waiting on. I am not good at graphics. Well let me say I am not artistically inclined.

However I am good at database driven systems… so its a good fit.

Check out our work. Better yet volunteer to provide us with some events data for your area if you live on the Gulf Coast.




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Why Veterans protest…

Posted on October 13, 2013
Filed Under America, Rants and Ramblings | Leave a Comment

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” There has come a time when the two main parts of the oath they took are in conflict. Veterans LOVE our country and our way of life. They have fought for it; Died for it. They really believe in the United States Constitution. That it IS the ultimate protection of our way of life. I don’t think most civilians can fully understand.

We swore:

 “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same”

And believe me...they will defend it. What do you do when the problem is actually the second part? When perhaps the President and his administration are actually threatening or bypassing the protections of the Constitution?

 “..and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice…”

What do you do when day after day, repeated numerous times. Laws or policies are “forced” upon us that visibly bypass the Constitution? No matter that the “law” will benefit some small portion of the population? That, when finally asked, most of the people disapprove?
Policies put in place by “tricks” when congress is not in session?
Policies that remove hard fought liberties gained by millions fighting for them?
What do you do? When you SEE the very foundation of our country being removed .. the firm footing it stands on,  weakened; One grain of sand of the foundation removed one at a time. Until it begins to tilt, or collapse? You protest. You visibly demonstrate that some of the policies are in conflict with the first part of your oath. Civil dis-obedience. This is not like the “Occupy” movement. This is serious. Depending on how the Government responds dictates any reaction. Hopefully not an escalation. Many of our Vets have actually seen the results of some of the policies / actions our government is trying to implement in its circuitous path around the protections of the Constitution.  And are yet again defending our way of life. Any attempt to bypass the purposefully place protections of the Constitution is EVIL. A threat to our way of life.  They are there for a reason. To force the Congress and government to slowly implement agreed upon changes and laws.  To give time to fully notify the population, to give time to fully comprehend any changes and the ramifications. Its not meant to be easy. If it stops someone from getting their way…Good. If you have a policy you want to implement…get the majority of the people behind you. Get a real majority in congress. You don’t simply bypass by making some “executive order” to implement  laws. Its getting to a boiling point. The people are beginning to get wise, to see whats happening. And they don’t like it. This is only the beginning. If policies and actions of a government are implemented, that is not a reflection of its people, continue to be forced upon us. The unrest will only get worse. Even the “Give me stuff” portion of the population is beginning to realize that those “free” benefits are not free, that they have to pay up for them. When the EBT system went down the other day, before the word came out from Xerox that it was a system malfunction..That the Government had shut it down as part of the “Government Shutdown”. Tempers flared, I suspect that riots would have followed in a short period of time. That is yet another section of the population. Sooner than you might expect. Even non-veterans will come to understand whats happening. Its already started.  People are getting fed up with a Government “where barriers are not erected against terrorists or illegal aliens on our nation’s borders, but rather against citizens, and where wheelchair-bound veterans enroute to honor their comrades face tighter security than terrorists enroute to murder a US Ambassador.” —ricochet.com If all you see in the news is a bunch of old guys protesting closing some memorials.



Try looking closer. They are protesting much more than that.


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His lips are moving —

Posted on October 9, 2013
Filed Under America, Rants and Ramblings | Leave a Comment

“The loss of ethics by the wealthy was a symptom, not a cause. What brought down the system was the unwillingness of the everyday citizens to live up to their own responsibilities. They allowed themselves – in fact, they pushed – to be corrupted. They insisted that public benefits – education, public safety, transportation systems – all be paid for by the rich. That doesn’t work economically unless you allow the rich more income. Once, the head of a business might have made between ten and a hundred times what one of the workers might. At the end of the Commonocracy, some heads of multilaterals made thirty thousand times what their workers did. At the same time that these so-called common people deplored the excesses of the rich, they filed hundreds of thousands of frivolous or semifrivolous claims against businesses and governments for millions or hundreds of millions of dollars, often for trivial injuries. ”  -L.E. Modesitt, “The Ethos Effect”

Its an odd quote, from of all things a book of fiction. Oddly accurate in today’s America.

Today Congress, or at least a small part of it, are locked in battle with Democrats and the President over….benefits…  Medical benefits… the Debt ceiling..so the government can borrow yet more money to fund … benefits.

Its time America lived within its budget…spend less than it takes in.  Common sense – yes?

The President was on TV trying to instill yet more panic in its citizens. We’re going to default on our bills..Maybe cut Social Security .. benefits..  Trying to increase public pressure on the recalcitrant Republicans by scaring the public. Almost everything he said was, *ahem*, inaccurate. No wonder his popularity is at a new low (37%).  It seems to me, that almost all his claims prove to be .. well just wrong.

Can anyone cite one of his programs that he has implemented where the MAJORITY of Americans approve? Immigration? Obamacare? Michelle’s school lunch fiasco? HIS administration using the IRS to target organizations that might be against his policies or goals?

I hope the conservatives stand their ground. I hope they FORCE the administration to negotiate and listen to the people. Stop spending, stop borrowing. And stop taking my money to pay for it all.  I am tired of the administration simply doing what it wants without it listening to the majority.

If the debt ceiling is not raised..we wont default on our “loans” the Government brings in plenty of money to pay those..and the Constitutions 14th amendment specifies that we HAVE to pay those first. I suppose that the current administration “could” choose to pay those and claim they have to cut welfare or other programs.  I suspect that in the long run that probably would be a good thing to reform that program and others.

Somethings will HAVE to be cut back. Simple math.  Its a burden we all must carry.  If not, the burden will fall to our children and their children. And it will be a large burden. The government can not keep raising taxes forever to pay for its excessive spending. Especially when the job market is so slow.

Americans need to change their mindset, being on the government teat is NOT a good thing. Society should encourage these folks to provide for themselves when possible. At one time people were ashamed to be on welfare. Apparently not anymore. We should help those in need…but enough already….

How do you like the selective Government Shutdown?  Most of the places that were closed, cost more to shut them down…then they did to operate. At least the visible ones that were shutdown JUST TO INCONVENIENCE THE PUBLIC.  Why shutdown open air memorials?  Yet another attempt to get the public to complain to congress to do something… Just another evil tactic of this administration to “punish” people. Unless of course its an immigration rally on the “closed” memorial in Washington… Veterans can’t visit memorials built in their honor…but allowing that rally is a SLAP in the face to the “common folks”.

This will all pass, and hopefully America will be on somewhat of a tighter budget for awhile. If it continues, things will get worse, more people will cry and scream next year..or the next time they debt ceiling needs to be raised. More likely when they see their paychecks when all the new taxes kick in to pay for those benefits will hopefully encourage some that are sitting on the fence to complain..dont complain, REPLACE those Congressmen and Senators..with some common sense oriented people.  Its refreshing to see groups going to Washington DC such as the Bikers, and Truckers. Its good to see even some of the more moderate talking heads start to question the might Administrations methods. It shows that public opinion is NOT supportive of his methods.  Such a change when it occurs will have to be a long term change. Perhaps even changing our current political two party system.  That would be interesting.

Change won’t happen until the populace changes….


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