By Bryce Ronquillo
Americans today are concerned about protecting privacy rather than protecting our national security.
In case of an investigation, law enforcement has the right to present a search warrant to access private property.
However, that is not the case with data encryptions.
All electronic devices have data encryption codes that are made to protect consumer privacy and rights.
These codes are accessed solely by the companies that produce the device.
Phone companies are not obligated to give up this information to law enforcement, even with a warrant. This puts our security, as a society, at risk.
In the events of the San Bernardino attack on Dec. 2, Apple refused to give the FBI access to the data of the suspect shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.
The FBI eventually hacked the phones without the help of Apple. The search would have been easier if they had access to the data-encryption.
Apple considered suing the FBI for hacking the phone, but did not follow through.
Criminals are able to operate freely behind the privacy of data-encrypted phones and computers and our law enforcement can’t stop them.
Giving local police this power would be even more beneficial.
The Internet is used every day to commit crimes like drug-trafficking and child pornography.
If law enforcement had access to this data, they could easily convict these criminals and keep them off the streets.
The common fear is that by giving the federal government access to their personal texts, emails and phone calls, people are at risk of being hacked by cyber-terrorists.
The truth of that matter is that we are already at risk of that.
We are preventing our government from protecting us from these threats.
Another fear is that the government will abuse this power and snoop through everyday citizens’ private conversations, unregulated.
This is isn’t an irrational fear. Once the government is given power, it’s difficult to get it back.
However, this isn’t a problem if citizens aren’t breaking federal laws.
They are interested in catching criminals, not harassing good American people.
On Nov. 24, 2015, there were two active shooters on the East Los Angeles College campus.
It’s no secret that schools are a target for people seeking to harm others. Safety from these people should be a primary concern for students. If local law enforcement has access to these criminals’ phones and personal information, we’d be a lot safer.
On April 13, the Sacramento Bee reported that a California phone decryption bill was defeated unanimously.
The bill would have allowed courts access to phone data and penalized the companies that don’t comply with them.
In the state of California, the technology industry is so prominent, the Judiciary committee wouldn’t dare vote against them.
Strong data-encryption is important to prevent access by hackers and cyber-terrorists.
In a perfect world, companies like Apple could create products that protect the people.
This allows the federal government and law enforcement to protect its people as well. Sacrificing privacy to save lives is worth it in the long run.