Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Apple-FBI debate has a bearing on child pornography apprehensions

One if the byproducts of the Apple-FBI decryption legal debate is the understanding that the government probably would not be able to decrypt hardened encryption used to hide other crimes, which would include production and distribution of child pornography.

The normal retort in the past would have been “get a warrant”, but Apple is maintaining that the mere existence of such decryption software, outside a military environment, would make everyone less secure against very determined criminals and enemies, so if should not be used for “ordinary” crime, even when socially repugnant or with minor victims. 

It might be possible to imagine the government’s adopting a “Minority Report” scheme to predict the likelihood that crimes against children are going to appear, by scanning the cloud or browsing habits with various kinds of algorithms.  Give the tone of the current debate, this possibility seems even less likely.  But some consumer use of material that is technically legal might be illegal out of context, if done for even remotely prurient interests.
It should be noted that other countries are trying to force decryption to apprehend child pornography, as reported in a story on the International Issues blog today about Brazil. 

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