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Smartphones and Liberty

The satirical news outlet National Report recently ran a story on computer behemoth Apple sharing user fingerprint data with the dastardly National Security Agency. It seems one of the hot, new features of the latest iPhone is the ability to recognize imprints. The non-scandal was picked up on a number of websites, only to be debunked by Charles Arthur in The Guardian. Admittedly, this writer was fooled by the hoax. With the publication of origin running stories on elders rioting over meds and the efficacy of violently exterminating illegal aliens, I should have been more vigilant.

The thing is, as blood-boiling as the story was, it was also believable. Thanks to the intrepid work of journalist Glenn Greenwald and heroic individualism of Edward Snowden, the public is now aware of Apple’s cozy relationship with Washington. According to a report in The Guardian, the NSA’s Prism program has direct access to the servers of major internet companies – including everyone’s favorite fruit-inspired computer provider. Government bureaucrats currently have an unhampered means of gathering data on individual users.

Despite claiming to have never heard of the program, Apple joined the surveillance panopticon in 2012. Whether by choice or by force is still a question; but it’s hard to argue with an armed gang. If I had to hedge my bets, I would go with the Jobs’ giant making a Faustian bargain in return for profits. As socially optimal as earnings are, throwing customers to the mob doesn’t sit easy. I don’t endorse the practice, but I certainly understand it.

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The iPhone5S was where I put my foot down with the wife

NO WAY that thing was coming in our home.

We have an understanding that I don't have to keep mentioning all that's going on all the time to her, but in times of seriousness I will speak loud and clear. This was one of those times.

After my rambling's, and the report of how the scanner was EASILY bypassed by lifting a print off a glass, isolating it in photoshop or whatever program and then printing the print in ultra high resolution and the ink being raised off the paper, and the scanner was fooled, I told her that unlike a fingerprint, you don't leave your 4-digit code on almost everything you touch.

She got the 5C instead.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Healthy skepticism is good,

Healthy skepticism is good, but independent analysis verifies that the iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner is isolated from the rest of the CPU and encrypted with a local key. This means that even if someone could access that part of the CPU (they can't) the data would be meaningless. That goes for Apple themselves or the NSA as well, the data just isn't stored in a way that can be back-converted reliably.

Perhaps fingerprints really are isolated in the current version,

But what about the next version. We all know how SS#s were not originally meant to be used for identification, or how retailers weren't originally allowed to add a surcharge on credit card transactions. Or how unconstitutional actions were not allowed, or how spying on citizens was against the rules. etc, etc.

"A vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote to keep things the same", Buckminster Fuller..
A choice for liberty is always a choice for liberty.

Eternal vigilance is the

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.


As the article stated, before going on to explain the very *real* and *verified* tracking abilities, such as the GPS, that all smart phones contain.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

It's hard to know

What the line between reality and satire is. If you had made a joke about the NSA reading every email 3 years ago, everyone would have laughed it off, yet here we are.