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The FBI recently pressured Apple into creating a special iPhone security override for them — and Apple very politely told them to screw off.

The TL;DR version is that the FBI is having trouble breaking into the iPhone formerly belonging to Syed Farook, one of the shooters involved in the tragic massacre in San Bernardino, California. Apple agreed to help ... but the FBI took this a step further and obtained a court order for Apple to provide a way to bypass several security features on the phone without erasing its data. Apple claims this would involve creating a new version of iOS (which some have dubbed "FBiOS") with a back door that has serious privacy and security implications.

It's not that Apple can't do what the FBI is asking of them; it's that they shouldn't. The company did cooperate by providing the data that was already in their possession. But they were less comfortable with the potential slippery slope of the FBI's override request and the precedent that kind of government overreach would establish for the future.


Apple CEO Tim Cook told the feds as much.

"You want master access to every Apple device? Nah-uh. Not on my watch, pal." Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Stringer/Getty Images.

Regardless of how you feel about the FBI's request, you have to wonder: Why is this only coming up now?

Actually, it's not.

While the iPhone itself has been around since 2007, this specific issue has to do with the new encryption policies Apple introduced with iOS 8 in 2014. "Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access [your personal] data," the company said at the time. "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

It's almost like they saw this coming.

And the FBI wasn't happy about it back then, either. As FBI Director James Comey said after Apple's encryption started catching on, "This disconnect has created a significant public safety problem. ... Uploading to the cloud doesn't include all of the stored data on a bad guy's phone, which has the potential to create a black hole for law enforcement."

It's almost like they saw this coming, too. And they've been asking for access ever since.

Photo by Carrrrrlos/Flickr.

Since then, the FBI has tried repeatedly to inch Apple toward their big ask.

This all came to a head in fall of 2015, when the Justice Department asked for Apple's help to crack the iPhone (running iOS 7) of a drug dealer named Jun Feng.

"Apple has repeatedly assisted law enforcement officers in federal criminal cases by extracting data from passcode-locked iPhones pursuant to court orders," the government argued. "Apple has acknowledged that it has the technical capability to do so again in this case."

It's a classic method of manipulation. "Just one more tiny favor, that's all! Just this once!"

This time, it was a drug dealer; but next time, it could just be a kid who illegally downloaded the new Kanye record.

So Apple drew a line in the sand.

Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images.

Then the San Bernardino shooting happened.

On one hand, it was the highest death toll since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre three years prior, and an absolute tragedy.

But mass shootings aren't hard to come by in this country, even if there is some debate about what exactly qualifies as a "mass shooting."

There was Dylann Roof, for example, the radical white supremacist who killed nine people at a historic black church in South Carolina. There was Robert Lewis Dear, an anti-abortion radical who killed three people, including a university police officer, and injured nine more at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado.

Elliot Rodger was spurred on by radical misogyny and killed six people and wounded seven others in Isla Vista, California.

And who can forget Wade Michael Page, another radical white supremacist who killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin? Or Jared Loughner, whose radical right-wing anti-government ideology led him to kill six people and injure 11 more, including a Congresswoman, at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona?

The difference between these and the San Bernardino shootings? Syed Farook represents a unique opportunity for the FBI that the other shooters didn't.

Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images.

In case you didn't notice the pattern: the majority of mass shooters in the United States are white extremists.

And the people who were allegedly responsible for the San Bernardino massacre? They were Muslims.

So why did the FBI decide that it was finally the right time to ask for that super-special secret master key that they've been after for years?

Because they could.

Because Islamophobia is on the rise, which makes it easier for them to get the unrestricted access they've been after so they can use it in the future whenever they want, regardless of the "who" or the "why."

Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Stringer/Getty Images.

So while Apple should be applauded for standing up to the FBI and defending our right to privacy, there's another deeply concerning issue lurking in the foreground.

As the face of the anti-surveillance movement said himself:

We know the U.S. government already spends a lot of time and resources spying on Muslims, even without an Apple master key. They do the same to "black extremists" and other left-wing "radical" movements such as Occupy as well.

And for the $500 million spent for every victim of terrorism, 90% of those caught up in this snooping are normal people like you and me.

The government's desire to compromise the privacy of its people under the auspices of "safety" is incredibly dangerous.

Let's refuse to perpetuate the racial fears that make this kind of subtle attack on our privacy possible.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Pixabay

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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All-female flight crews known as 'Night Witches' bombed the crap out of Nazi targets in WWII

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The Night Witches were feared by the Germans for their stealth bombing runs.

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During WWII, the Soviet Air Force's 588th Night Bomber Regiment flew incredibly harrowing missions, bombing Germans with rudimentary biplanes in the dead of night. The Germans called them Nachthexen—"Night Witches"—because the only warning they had before the bombs hit was an ominous whooshing sound akin to a witch's broom.

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This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019


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