See, I Told You So

At times we are compelled to tell off our skeptics after the fact. In this case the fact is a whopper that proves what should have been obvious back in February when Apple was being pressured by the FBI to build a tool to bypass iOS security measures.

In February I said:

Say the tool gets created. The tool is a digital file that will live on a computer system run by the government - the same institution whose agencies are constantly being broken into and plundered. It must be understood that if the tool is created, it will get into the hands of our enemies...


It's only a few months later now and the NSA has been hacked, digital tools stolen, and leaked on the internet:

NSA Hacking Tools Released Online - Washington Post
Who Hacked the NSA? - Popular Mechanics
Snowden docs prove NSA hack is real - Business Insider
Shadow Brokers claim to have hacked the NSA - NPR

The heart of the matter is not whether the NSA was hacked. What matters is that private digital tools have fallen into the wrong hands. Driving the point further home - those hands are now selling to the highest bidder. And because this story is public now, it is worth saying this again:

See, I told you so.

This could have been the iOS hack tool, had it been created as requested by the FBI. The pilfering of hacking tools is inevitable. It's why Tim Cook likened the creation of an iOS bypass tool to cancer. You don’t take chances with cancer. It spreads. 

As equally disturbing to me as the idea of the tool, is the FBI's demand in and of itself. The FBI lacks authority to require what they demanded. And so they engaged in a publicity battle to pressure Apple into behavior that was ultimately irresponsible (because as has been shown by the NSA hack - they wouldn't have been able to contain it) that would ultimately jeopardize the security and real safety of the hundreds of millions of iOS users.

It calls to mind Frederic Bastiat: 

We must remember that law is force, and that, consequently, the proper functions of the law cannot lawfully extend beyond the proper functions of force.
Todd Hopkinson