The John Adams Society

Theodore O. Olsen


Christopher T. Wolff


G. Larry Colson Jr.

Chief Whip

Katey Haflund


MARCH 2016

"Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say"

-Edward Snowden

THROUGHOUT the ongoing fight between Apple and the FBI over custom access to an iPhone used by one of the two terrorists who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, the government has framed the argument as a simple trade-off: You must surrender a little privacy if you want more security. Our government needs to keep us safe.  To do that it should be able to spy on us. Without warrants, probable cause or restraint. Information could be used to prevent deaths, child predation, or drugs.  The government is not going after anyone’s personal information, the content of their personal information. But they do want to get the bad guys, they don't want them to use social media, or communications devices invented right here to plot against us.

FBI Director James Comey said forcing Apple to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter is no big deal.  There shouldn't be any encryption the government can't crack, especially when it comes to crime and public safety.  The FBI Director insisted vital decisions involving safety from terrorists shouldn’t be left in the hands of “corporations that sell stuff for a living.”  You cannot put a price on the security of our nation.

ON THE OTHER HAND, The United States government has demanded Apple take an unprecedented step threatening the security of its customers. iPhones store an incredible amount of personal information, from private conversations to photos, music,  notes, calendars, contacts, financial information and health data, even where someone has been and where they are going. All that information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to steal it.  The information can be misused by the government itself.  Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in their power to protect personal information, and at Apple Inc. they are deeply committed to safeguarding personal data.  Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us.

THE CHAIRMAN, who has pointlessly changed his password on his iPhone in vain, has called a debate to settle the question:

RESOLVED:  Encryption is for Criminals.

The Debate will be held on March 16, 2016, at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o’clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. There is no dress code, however gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies are encourage to adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen arriving sans tie yet wishing to discourse on the resolution, the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand several remarkable selections. Questions regarding debate caucus procedures of about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (651) 269-1890 or the Secretary at (651) 494-9008.