A Good Idea From A Republican In Congress
Most Republican politicians spent much of yesterday scrambling to squeeze political capital out of Americans’ fear of terrorism, but one Republicsn in Congress had the good sense to take action to prevent the use of paranoia about terrorism to compromise Americans’ constitutional right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
The Obama Administration has been trying to force the Apple computer company to redesign iPhone security features in a way that would enable a new way for the government to search through Americans’ private information. The federal government has claimed the authority to make such searches without a specific warrant, although such searches are prohibited by the Constitution.
In response, Republican Matt Salmon introduced H.R. 4839 in Congress yesterday. The bill, also known as the Protect Our Devices Act, would clarify that the All Writs Act, a law from the 1790s, does not give the federal government the authority to force companies to create gaps in their encryption software.
The Obama Administration has claimed that such security gaps are necessary to enable the government to protect people from terrorism. In this case, at least, Representative Salmon has remembered that surrendering liberty in exchange for the semblance of security is not the American way.