• Elliott Willschick

Cellphones: They are not the only way to solve a crime!

The police and the government's stance with regard to Apple making a backdoor program to access the shooter's phone in the San Bernardino shooting would make one think that access to cellphone is just about the only way they can accomplish anything. Thankfully, for police, the invention of the cellphone has opened up limitless possibilities. What can they really access on there?

In the San Bernardino case, it would seem likely that any leads which could be obtained from that phone will be very stale. The tragic shooting which occurred in San Bernardino was sadly just that: a shooting. It was an unpredictable crime which was not necessarily avoidable.

Let us try to envision a crime which is avoidable through the interception of cell phone data. Perhaps a terrorist has chosen the CN Tower as a target to destroy. He has text messaged various associates and done google searches. He may have photographs on his phone which show various angles of the CN Tower. If the police could just intercept these messages they could arrest everyone who is involved and avoid the attack.

In reality, terrorists are not that naive. They will probably have been communicating in code, if at all electronically, and the police would have to identify where each person is in order to arrest them. There are cases where this happens. They usually involve drug trafficking and conspiracy charges.

How were crimes solved before cellphones? Did the police just sit there and wish there were some invention that would permit them to have access to all communications? Whatever happened to going out and working a case? Getting informants and putting officers undercover in various organizations.

Any leads which could be gleamed off the San Bernardino phone are long gone. The police have been looking for any excuse to have access to a wider range of electronic communication. Apple is correct to fight this. Innocent people should not have to lose their right to privacy because it will make police work easier. There are other ways...


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