Judge Blocks California School District Policy to Notify Parents If Their Child Changes Pronouns

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Parts of a controversial Southern California school district policy that require school staff to tell parents if their child asks to change their gender identification will remain halted after a judge granted a preliminary injunction Thursday to block them until a final decision is made in the case.

The ruling by San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Sachs, who called portions of the policy unconstitutional, came after another judge temporarily halted the policy in September. California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who filed a lawsuit against the Chino Valley Unified School District in August, said the policy is harmful to transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

“This case is about a policy that is discriminatory,” Delbert Tran, a deputy attorney general representing the state, said at the hearing.

The Chino Valley school board approved the policy over the summer to require school staff — including principals, counselors and teachers — to notify parents in writing within three days of the school finding out their child asks to be identified as a gender different from what is listed on official records. The policy also requires staff to tell parents if their child begins using bathrooms designated for a different gender.

Sachs denied on Thursday the state’s request to block another part of the policy requiring school staff to notify parents if their child asks for information in their student records to be changed.

Emily Rae, a lawyer representing the school district, said at the hearing that parents have the right to know if their child asks to identify as a different gender so that they can better support the child’s needs.

“Chino Valley implemented this policy because it values the role that parents play in the educational process and understands that giving parents access to important information about their children is necessary,” Rae said.

Several other school districts near Chino Valley, which serves roughly 27,000 students, and in other parts of the state have debated or adopted similar policies. Last month, a federal judge blocked a policy at the Escondido Union School District in Southern California that requires staff to refrain from notifying parents if their child identifies as transgender or gender-nonconforming unless the student gives them permission.

School district policies requiring school staff to notify parents of their child’s gender identification change bubbled up after a bill by Republican Assemblymember Bill Essayli, which would have implemented the policy statewide, failed to receive a hearing in the Legislature this year. Essayli then worked with school board members and the California Family Council to help draft the policy that was voted on at Chino Valley.

The lawsuit is part of an ongoing battle between California officials and some local school districts over the rights of parents and LGBTQ+ students. In July, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said at a meeting on the Chino Valley policy that it could pose a risk to students who live in unsafe homes.

In August, the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus planned to announce a bill to somehow combat the policies, but lawmakers decided to hold off for the year. Assemblymember Chris Ward, a Democrat and vice chair of the caucus, said Monday that the outcome of the lawsuit against Chino Valley “will inform the range of possibilities for what we should or shouldn’t do with regard to legislation.”

Click here to read the full article in AP News

San Bernardino to Award Up to $5,000 in ‘Hero’ Payments to City Employees

Full-time employees in cities across the Inland Empire received similar payments

San Bernardino will award premium, or hero, pay to full- and part-time city employees for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those still at City Hall who started working there between March 13, 2020, and May 5, 2023, will receive the bonus.

Full-time employees will get $5,000 and part-time workers will get $2,500 under a plan approved by the City Council Wednesday, July 19.

About $5.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding will be used to reward approximately 800 full- and part-time city employees and another 300 or so with the Water Department for their service these past three years.

“The pandemic was extremely difficult for all of us, but not all of us were able to stop when the world did,” Councilmember Ben Reynoso, who proposed the pay structure, wrote in a text message Friday, July 21. “Our city staff kept our local world fully operational for the community and for that, a one-time hero payment is the least we can do.”

San Bernardino joins several other Inland cities in rewarding employees for clocking into work during the pandemic.

Colton, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Ontario, Pomona, Rialto and Riverside all awarded full-time workers hero pay. Some of those cities also cut part-time workers a check.

While San Bernardino leaders agreed some sort of hero payment was in order, they debated how much should be awarded.

Councilmember Theodore Sanchez proposed awarding $3,500 to all employees, full- and part-time, arguing that the difference in hours worked between the two is minimal.

“Nobody was at risk of getting part-time COVID,” he said. “Part-time employees still had to put on their uniform and go to work. I have not met a single part-time employee in the city who would not have loved to be a full-time employee.

“They wanted to go out and be in the community.”

Click here to read the full article in the Sun

How California Deputies Became Highway Robbers

San Bernardino County deputies stopped the same armored-car driver twice and took nearly $1.1 million in cash owned by legal marijuana dispensaries.

An organized group of Southern California bandits has brazenly hijacked armored cars and grabbed hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. The heavily armed thieves reportedly have damaged trucks, hassled their victims, covered up video cameras—and even celebrated their haul. “Wowee!” and “way to go, buddy,” they allegedly cheered, after pulling a recent heist.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that this is the latest example of California’s ongoing crime wave, epitomized by “third world” scenes of pilfered freight trains and brazen smash-and-grab robberies. But it’s nothing of the sort. Actually, it’s more pernicious than the usual crime spree because a sheriff is the mastermind and his deputies are looting the armored cars.

For instance, San Bernardino County deputies stopped the same Empyreal Logistics armored-car driver twice and took a total of nearly $1.1 million in cash owned by legal marijuana dispensaries, per news reports. The government has not charged the armored-car company nor the cannabis firms with any crimes, but the sheriff keeps the cash, anyway. Critics are right to call it highway robbery.

Welcome to the dystopian world of civil-asset forfeiture, a drug-war relic that allows police—often at the behest of district attorneys—to take people’s cash, cars, and properties based on their suspicion that the property was involved in a crime. Officials never have to prove that the property’s owner was involved in a crime.

The agencies have every incentive to employ this strategy routinely given that they keep the proceeds and spend the money on vehicles, guns, and whatever. News reports found police so adept at abusing this process that they sometimes target people who own the kind of fancy SUVs and sports cars that they’d like to have available in their motor pool.

Not only does this process deprive Americans of their Fourth Amendment right to be safe against the government’s searches and seizures, but it undermines the credibility of law enforcement by turning cops into our adversaries. San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus claims that “80 percent of marijuana at dispensaries was grown illegally.” If that’s true, then the sheriff simply needs to, you know, go to court and prove it.

Did I mention that the police agencies—not the drivers, nor the cannabis companies—may be breaking, or at least severely twisting, the law? California law requires police to gain a conviction in the underlying drug case before seizing private property. Furthermore, federal law forbids sheriffs from targeting licensed marijuana businesses and from using forfeiture proceeds to supplant current revenues.

Why should police follow the law when they can take what they want and force victims to file lawsuits to get their property returned? Police often target victims without the wherewithal to fight back. Criminal enterprises can be amazingly creative, as anyone who has studied the cartels would know. Likewise, American law-enforcement scofflaws have come up with a creative workaround to pesky rights-upholding laws.

The “equitable sharing” program allows local agencies to “partner” with federal bureaus to conduct forfeiture operations. By magically turning a local raid into a federal one, sheriffs can circumvent their own state laws. Then the feds and locals split the loot. In this situation, the San Bernardino department can keep 80 percent of the seized $1 million-plus. And who is going to enforce the federal law when the feds get 20-percent of the action? If you wonder how justice works in countries where the police are untrustworthy, then this should provide insight.

Despite Dicus’ blather about fighting illegal grows, it’s clear what’s going on. Sheriffs are exploiting the chasm between state and federal marijuana laws. Thirty-seven states have legalized some marijuana sales (recreational or medical), but the feds obstinately keep weed classified as a Schedule I narcotic along the lines of heroin and LSD.

This is not a partisan issue, by the way, as both the Biden and Trump administrations have been atrocious on the issue.

The libertarian Institute for Justice recently filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit, which makes this compelling point: “(I)t makes no sense to confiscate lawfully collected currency from Empyreal’s vehicles as it is delivered safely to the financial system for greater transparency instead of investigating or enforcing against any businesses suspected to be non-compliant. The real reason Empyreal is being targeted is because it is very profitable for these law-enforcement agencies to seize the cash proceeds.”

In a free society, laws should be logical and promote just outcomes, not create Catch-22 situations that punish honest people who are trying to comply. Yet the nation’s cannabis laws are something out of an Orwell novel. For instance, legal cannabis shops are required to pay taxes, but federal laws restrict their access to the banking system and state laws limit their ability to pay in cash.

Then law enforcement agencies take advantage of the situation to bolster their own budgets. No friend of liberty should be celebrating this outrage.

Click here to read this article in Reason.org.

This article was originally published in the Orange

Needles declared itself a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” city

One of San Bernardino County’s easternmost cities wants to be a sanctuary, not for undocumented immigrants, for gun owners.

Needles this month declared itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary City” a message that city leaders say is partly about support for gun rights and partly a desire to get an exemption from state law so out-of-state gun owners can travel through town and for residents to purchase ammunition.

The former railroad town of about about 5,000 is near the Colorado River, close to the Arizona state line, and city officials say that California’s gun laws are prompting Arizona residents to stay out of Needles, hurting business in the town. …

Click here to read the full article from the Riverside Press-Enterprise

Sheriffs Condemn Gavin Newson’s Gun Control Efforts

Gavin newsomRiverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff and San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon are criticizing Gavin Newsom’s current gun control push as a misdirected effort that restricts law-abiding citizens and the Second Amendment, rather than criminals.

Sheriff McMahon, in particular, suggests that Newsom’s push exemplifies the habit of enacting more and more gun controls when there has been no effort to enforce the laws that are already on the books. McMahon said, “We still have people running around with guns that aren’t supposed to have them.”

According to the Press-Enterprise, McMahon sees Newsom’s push as just another way to restrict law-abiding citizens’ rights. And that — in addition to the lack of enforcement — is why he opposes it: “I generally oppose any legislation that puts any more restrictions or control on citizens having an ability to possess firearms,” Sheriff McMahon is reported to have said.

Sheriff Sniff reportedly expressed the same sentiments, but went even further by suggesting the added restrictions on law-abiding citizens harm public safety. According to the Press-Enterprise, he said, “In some cases, these proposed bills actually make our communities less safe, and remove inherent rights of our citizens to self-defense, or worse, allow only the wealthy, elite or the well-off to protect themselves.”

Newsom responded to the sheriffs’ concerns by suggesting Sniff and McMahon hold “a different point of view” than the sheriffs who had been in office before them. And he suggested that Sniff and McMahon are known to oppose “law after law after law.” Newsom added, “I think these things save lives. They can disagree … but the data does not support their point of view.”

If passed, Newsom’s gun control ballot initiative will enact a statewide “high capacity” magazine ban and put ammunition background checks in place.

It is interesting to note that in one of the most high profile attacks in recent memory — the May 2014 Santa Barbara attack, in which three innocents were gunned down, after others were stabbed — the gunman only used 10-round magazines. Newsom argues that limiting citizens to 10-round magazines is a way to reduce crime.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.

This piece was originally published by Breitbart California

Lawmakers send sweeping gun package to Jerry Brown

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

California’s Democrat-controlled Legislature on Thursday approved far-reaching bills to bolster the state’s strong gun restrictions, sending Gov. Jerry Brown a package of measures revived after the deadly attack last year in San Bernardino.

Lawmakers, led by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, moved a dozen bills, including those expanding California’s historic 1989 ban on assault weapons, barring possession of high-capacity magazines that accommodate more than 10 rounds of ammunition, instituting tighter deadlines for owners to report lost or stolen firearms and regulating ammunition sales.

While California’s gun-control laws are among the toughest in the nation, the latest effort comes amid a series of unabated massacres dominating the headlines – from the December shooting in San Bernardino where two terrorists killed 14 people to the recent attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., where an aggrieved shooter gunned down 49 people and injured more than 50 others, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

De León authored the ammunition regulation bill after a past attempt requiring in-person ammo sales was tossed out in court for being too vague. He called it “ridiculous” that terrorist sympathizers and some gang members are using America’s broken gun laws system to harm communities. …

Property Taxes to Increase by 13 Percent in Coming Year

property taxIn Chicago, escalating property taxes are headline news. With the average property tax bill due to go up by 13 percent – and more increases in subsequent years virtually guaranteed – home ownership in the Windy City is in deep peril. No one seems happy except the moving companies.

This drastic tax increase is the result of bad decisions by corrupt officials who have caved to city employee pension demands that are unsustainable without massive borrowing. And that borrowing will be paid for by massive property tax hikes. But if homeowners are considering fleeing exorbitant taxation, they may have to travel a good distance. Illinois residents, even without the Chicago pension tax, are already paying the highest effective property tax rate in the nation at 2.67 percent, according to a recent study by CoreLogic, an Irvine, California-based provider of data to the financial and real estate industries.

Nationally, the study shows the median property tax rate is 1.31 percent of value.

In addition to Illinois, states with median property tax rates of greater than 2 percent include New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Texas (which some may find surprising considering its reputation as a low tax state), Connecticut and Pennsylvania. On the low end is Hawaii at 0.31 percent.

California, at 1.12 percent, ranks 30th compared to other states. Tax seeking politicians and their special interest allies will likely consider this a failure. After all, thanks to them, California has the highest state sales tax, highest marginal income tax rates and, due to carbon charges, the highest gas levies in the nation. “Why shouldn’t we be number one in every tax category?” they are, no doubt, asking themselves.

California property tax rates are reasonable for one reason and one reason only – Proposition 13. Arguably the most famous of all initiatives in the history of the United States, Prop. 13 was the brainchild of the late Howard Jarvis. He led the effort to put the tax limiting measure on the ballot where it was approved by nearly two-thirds of California voters in 1978. By limiting annual property tax hikes to two percent per year, it made tax bills moderate and predictable.

Still, California property taxes are not low. Because of high property values, the median priced home now costs nearly $519,000 according to the California Association of Realtors. Thus, while our effective tax rate ranks 30th of the 50 states, when measuring property tax revenues per capita, we rank 14th. This belies government complaints that California is starved for property tax revenues.

Proposition 13 protections should not be taken for granted. Consider the cities of Stockton, Vallejo and San Bernardino which were driven into bankruptcy by officials who, like Chicago’s aldermen and mayor, agreed to inflated and unsustainable pension benefits for government workers. The difference is that Proposition 13’s tax limiting provisions prevent California cities and counties from arbitrarily increasing property taxes. At least for now.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

An Apple a Day Keeps Nationalism Away

AppleTaking a bite out of crime took on a whole new meaning for the iPhone producing giant Apple, finding itself under pressure from the FBI to help with the San Bernardino terrorism investigation. The G-Men want Apple to digitally crack open a seized iPhone found in the possession of the Islamist terrorist murderer Syed Farook. The problem for the feds is that the software installed on the device wipes the phone clean if a passcode attempt is entered more than 10 times unsuccessfully. To change that, apple would have to provide new custom code (even if intended only for this one phone), thus potentially redefining the security capability of the system for all users permanently.

Advocates for cracking the phone have said that Apple should do it, claiming it’s their patriotic duty to help crack the phone, but this oversimplification misses the point that programming can be reverse engineered to allow other phones to be opened the same way. This raises questions about the responsibilities versus the rights of Apple from a product liability standpoint and for the future for information technology providers.

They say all publicity is good publicity, and for Apple an opportunity to use public attention to its advantage is rarely missed. That’s partly why they so quickly came forward, in an orchestrated fashion, with their statements refusing the request.

They gain the perception of solidarity with their customers by looking like they are standing up to government pressure.

The feedback they have received says a lot about the public distrust of government, given the growing concern over terrorism. Is this the healthy fear of government that Jefferson referenced when writing about preferring dangerous freedom, or is it a cynical backlash against an incurably ineffective government that is overstepping our liberties?

The real story here isn’t just about iPhone security or patriotism, it’s about the interplay between government officials and a large multinational corporation. It’s about a society at the intersection of conflicts of technology, privacy and government. It’s illustrative of the pressures building between consumers and citizens, governments and multinational corporations, and the public versus private split in a connected world.

The globalized economy is among the largest growing contradiction of capitalism, one that puts national borders and governments in a race for relevance against forces they can no longer fully control. Both governments and multinational corporations are becoming increasingly defined by exchange driven relationships.

In the best case scenario, multinationals see governments as generating taxes from the business operations within defined borders, a cost of doing business that generates revenue drawn from transactions through their shared spheres of influence. Governments theoretically provide security, stability, a functioning legal framework, important infrastructure, and most of all, access to well established markets. Without a sound marketplace and ready purchasers, multinationals would struggle to connect with the right consumers in a predictable way.

The friction comes not only between countries and companies, but between countries at odds with non-state actors, leaving companies in the middle. Events may arise that see a national government’s agenda directed against a rival state, and in so doing jeopardize the wellbeing of a resident company and its brand. Form the company’s perspective, it may no longer be possible to remain loyal to one country without jeopardizing their business position with others.

Consider that Apple is the most valuable brand in the world. At $536 billion the market cap dominates most other tech companies by a wide margin. With sales of $234 billion, its revenue producing activities are greater than the total national economy of New Zealand, or Slovakia, or Ecuador. Apple operates 481 retail stores across 18 different countries. Their online services are available to consumers in 39 different countries. It employs some 92,000 workers with an additional supply chain that creates economic value employing factory workers, technicians, developers, programmers, producers of every type, across every industry involved in the creation and management of its products. This is a staggering amount of positive human output from vendors and allies of Apple. But all this does not a national company make.

In the brave new world of the global economy, we are familiar with transnationalism, but we relegate its true impact to the subconscious. We are comforted in our belief that an American company is one that has historical ties to America.

But increasingly how can a company remain tied to any one country the way we that individually pledged citizens do? Loyalty is to production, profitability, investor return, and progress as arguably it should be. So why then do we personify companies, and what reason should we have to think they would behave any different than we would when pressured?

In the strictest sense a corporation is a legal person. But that is not at the same as a legal citizen. Well run corporations operate by evaluating economic factors and conduct cost benefit analysis devoid of emotionalism. Can it be said that Apple is an American Company? What does that really mean? Are they exercising rights or responding to governance that does not fully apply?

Is a company’s national identity found in its incorporation? Is its perceived nationality determined by their corporate headquarters geography? What of the employees it hires, when they are comprised from among several different countries? Does a majority of their workforce having citizenship in one country or another make them definitively loyal to one country over another?

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us” said Marshall McLuhan, as such the world that shapes us also defines us. The economics of globalization are inseparable from their influence on culture. The spirit of entrepreneurship has doubtlessly benefitted from interaction with international market opportunities, but what we have gained in innovation, lower costs, and greater prosperity, we have partly lost in identity, community, and fidelity to the intangibles that make us American’s. This question of nationalism, and therefore corporate loyalty is a multidirectional question that affects both companies and citizens.

The story of the Apple iPhone hack isn’t simple. It’s not about whether Apple is patriotic, it’s about whether corporate citizenship is a meaningful concept and whether it applies in a substantive way.

The nostalgia for a simple binary world of American Corporations and foreign corporations is fading. What does a Patriotic American company, grounded in American values and traditions even look like in a globalized world? How can we reasonably expect companies who represent shareholder interests to trust an anti-prosperity equality obsessed government with detailed functionality of products that define a brand?

The people are searching for answers, and the Apple issue is but one of many fissures in our collective understanding of ourselves. The “Make America Great Again” rhetoric, whatever you may think of its standard-bearer, the phrase encapsulates an indisputably brilliant insight reflecting this paradigm. It plays to a unifying concept running counter to meaningless, ever changing policy nuance and word bending. The empty promises of the old politics just won’t do anymore. It reflects a passion for a simpler time, a place we used to call home.

A country that was indivisible, united, and was one nation under God. That was the time of great things, when citizens were called forward to sacrifice their lives to protect their families at home and save the world, preserving a free future.

The greatest generation ran America’s companies transitioning from war production and leading the world, carrying American ideals forward as exemplars of our way of life. Such times have passed and the winds of change may be blowing ever counter to those ideals.

There remains though, deep with many of our people a longing for a connection to the ordered liberty that a limited and healthy government gave us. That government of the people, for the people, and by the people is under attack from many different directions.

Big government redistributionist, (self-describing as progressives) have pushed a perpetual entitlement debt encumbrance that will burden future generations with restrained growth and reduced opportunity. The left’s prescription has been and always will be for the necessity of freedom sacrifices. Excellence, wealth creation, and the risk taking leaders of the economy create naturally occurring inequalities. These (according to their thinking), must be slain to appease an insatiable appetite for fundamental fairness, a self-righteous construct of their own imaginations. As true believers, (even though they know a rising tide lifts all boats) they prefer to run such aground rather than allowing unequal ships to set sail. As Churchill said “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. We must continue to confront and defeat this ideology at home and abroad.

Whether Apple ultimately decides to assist the FBI with its investigation remains to be seen. Whether their decision ends up being right or wrong is becoming harder to know. But what is knowable is that the government that fails to protect us from terrorism fails not because of Apple, but because of its own lack of commitment to serious citizenship and preserving the integrity of our boarders. Apple didn’t give a special visa waiver to the terrorist black widow bride, and it doesn’t continue to allow thousands upon thousands of unknown’s to pour into our country daily.

Our national future may be slipping beyond our control. Empty promises lead to failed institutions. Runaway spending, the entitlement culture, empty pursuits of consumerism, these are the forces proliferating under weakened national identity. Multinational corporate complexity won’t fit into a neatly packaged red white and blue box anymore. Forces of our own creation have changed our people into consumers first, and citizens second, where there are markets first and nations as an afterthought.

One day when our country and all that it stood for is gone, a future generation may discover a time when prosperity was not confused with blatant consumerism. A time where the type of people leading companies and countries were leaders who “more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!”

FBI Overreach in Pursuit of Apple Compliance

appleThe Apple-FBI saga playing out in a very public way is a classic case of overreach by a law enforcement agency. The FBI is putting extraordinary (and unprecedented) pressure on Apple following the horrific San Bernadino shootings. The U.S. government has filed a motion in court to compel Apple to re-engineer its operating system so that the FCC can investigate whether the shooter used his iPhone to communicate or plan with other potential co-conspirators.

Forcing Apple to crack open its own code might appeal to some people clamoring for a quick fix for the ever-increasing threat of terrorism in our country. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes and the government’s move is an extraordinary threat to civil liberty. It also won’t solve the larger problem. A backdoor won’t stop terrorism, but it will weaken smartphone security systems with no likelihood of any real public benefit. The public, and policymakers, should support Apple’s public resistance to the FBI’s pressure tactics. The FBI’s proposal is dangerous for at least these four reasons:

It Won’t Stop Terrorism

The FBI wants Apple to build a post-incident forensic investigation tool to unpack what may have happened. But that will not actually deter or prevent terrorism. Terrorists will simply switch to using encrypted phones from other countries.

It Will Open Security Loopholes

If the government is allowed to force Apple to provide a backdoor to its operating system, it will weaken security for all U.S. consumers on a go-forward basis This will not force committed terrorists to think twice, but instead could make Apple’s operating system vulnerable to the hacking of consumer data on a large scale given the way this story is playing out publicly as the hacking community will be awaiting the court decision with baited breath.

It Sets A Terrible International Precedent

If the courts force this technology mandate on Apple, it’s also making this technology available to the rest of the world. That means rogue regimes and dictatorships interested in cracking down on the communications and online interests of its citizens will have access to the same security busting technology as the U.S. government. Limiting security on iPhones could put regular citizens, journalists or freedom fighters, who are often on the frontlines of fights against oppression, in peril.

It Encourages Malware

What the FBI is requesting is as akin to introducing a dangerous virus into Apple’s operating system. The FBI is demanding that Apple create malware by reformulating its software. Backdoor access not only creates access for the government but it creates a flaw that black hat hackers will attempt to exploit. There’s a good chance this will create unintended consequences for Apple and its operating system, which could create a myriad of issues for millions of iPhone users.

Terrorism is a serious problem and one we, as a country, must face head-on. But we need to approach the situation in a way that yields results without creating new vulnerabilities. Knee-jerk reactions, like the one we’re seeing from the FBI are certainly not the answer. They only harm civil liberties and create new problems down the line. We need to hold true to our societal principles, including a right to privacy or we risk handing the terrorists their first real victory by causing us to subvert our values for a gamble that evidence collected after this attack might prevent future attacks.

Tim Sparapani is founder of the consulting firm SPQR Strategies and senior policy counsel for CALinnovates. He was the first director of public policy at Facebook and was senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. He is on Twitter: @TimSparapani.

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Apple headed for showdown over San Bernardino shooter’s phone

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Apple’s refusal to help the FBI access information from the retrieved cell phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook sets up a long-brewing confrontation between Silicon Valley and members of Congress including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator.

Apple’s rejection of a court order demanding the company unlock the phone represents a pivotal crossroads in a growing debate over digital privacy versus security and is likely to determine whether law enforcement can access data that increasingly is being encrypted.

The outcome of the battle also will have implications not only for the growing use of cell phones in business transactions but for the ability of foreign governments such as China to pry into the personal lives of their citizens, analysts of the dispute said. …

Click here to read the full article