Blackstone on Apple v. FBI

In the debate over Apple’s refusal to comply with a court order to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, I came across this:

“You can rationalize it, these are known bad people, this is a known domestic terrorism case and it’s one iPhone,” said Oren Falkowitz, chief executive of security firm Area 1 Security and a former director of technology and data science programs at U.S. Cyber Command. “But it has implications for all technologies across the globe. We have to be doing more to strengthen the security of the Internet … or we’ll suffer consequences, … greater than whatever information might be on this one phone.”LA Times

Which reminded me of Blackstone’s formula, quoted with approval by Benjamin Franklin in the course of creating our own constitution, that it is better to let 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. Its a formula whose meaning seems largely to have been lost in the last few decades – witness the current tide of exonerations washing over the criminal justice world – but whose truth suddenly seems evident here.

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