First it was the NSA, the FBI and every big city cop shop on the planet insisting we need legislation to force safe, secure and for their eyes only back doors in damn near every device on the planet, presumably including light switches, garbage disposals and dishwashers. Eventually they came to see that doors, hidden or not, are merely temptations for hackers to break on through, and just decided to go on the down low for a while so they could pull a sneak attack later when we least expect it, which is a favorite trick of government types.
Then came the whole thing where the FBI wanted Apple to crack open an iPhone they could’ve cracked themselves if they hadn’t fixed it so they couldn’t. Tim Cook balked, either because he wanted to come across as squeaky clean so no one would suspect he’d already built back doors into OS X or because he does have some ethical standards hidden away somewhere which he occasionally remembers to use.
While the FBI was threatening Cook with serious time in the hoosegow if he didn’t cooperate, they met some guy at a bar who asked, “Man, what are you doing here?” When they explained their problem, he told them he could crack anything if they’d just buy another round or two, so having no other recourse, and because he worked cheaply enough, they gave him a try, and lo and behold he got them inside. This turned out to be a disappointment because there wasn’t any decent porn there, or evidence either, just fifteen or twenty copies of Arlo Guthrie’s “The Motorcycle Song,” which the FBI figured was kind of strange for a suspected dead terrorist.
So the young FBI agents told Apple they didn’t need them to crack the damn thing anymore and that they were off the hook, hoping to lull them into complacency so they could catch them off guard at a later date, which again is a favorite trick, and decided to go after this Guthrie fellow who seemed like he had the potential to be a dangerous cop killer.
Then they discovered the song was recorded in ’67 (meaning long ago, far away, excuse me), and had been popular with everyone but the FBI, who is still following him around, which is easier now since Arlo can no longer fly standby youth fare because he’s no longer between the age of 18 and 22, and is in fact so old that he hardly ever goes anywhere, which means all they have to do is live in their cars across the road from his house and occasionally follow him to the Kroger store.
Eventually someone smarter than the FBI came along and asked if they wanted to know a secret, and whispered in their ear that now the public knew they knew how to crack an iPhone, people might quit saving incriminating evidence on their phones, so the FBI slyly told the press that for some reason the method used to crack the phone wouldn’t work on any of Apple’s incredibly uncrackable phones except for that particular phone — not the model, but the phone itself — hoping that would lull the masses back to complacency, which is right where government types like the masses to be.
Although the heat was off, Apple’s Cook knew it was only a matter of time before they came back to be knock, knock, knocking on his door, so he asked his lawyer what he should do the next time the FBI came calling. His lawyer nearly fell off the floor. He said, “I never engaged in this kind of thing before.” Then he added, muttering to himself, “But yes I think it can be very easily done. We’ll just put some bleachers out in the sun and have it on Highway 61.”
Cook, being somewhat square, figured something was happening but he didn’t know what it was, so he asked, “Have what, exactly, out in the sun?”
The lawyer crossed himself and then clicked his high heels and without further notice he said, “A FOSS Force poll. Those freaks are geeks. They’ll know exactly what the appropriate response should be.”
And as the lawyer left to go find someone intelligent with whom to discuss lepers and crooks, Cook turned up the volume on his iPad as loud as it would go to listen to Fingerprint File, because he thought he suddenly understood what Jagger was talking about but he didn’t.
The lawyer, for some reason, seemed offended by the music. He stood at the doorway and said, “You should be made to wear earphones.”
Cook was confused. “It’s only rock ‘n roll,” he said.