What Is Next? An NSA “Kill Switch” for Smartphones? (Or, Three Basic Rules about Tyranny) – UPDATED

By Doug Newman
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A Saturday headline prompted me to outline three basic rules about the growth of tyranny.

Rule 1: Tyranny always comes wrapped in somebody’s good intention.

NBC News reports:

“Police and prosecutors from across the country told smartphone manufacturers on Thursday that they must take steps to solve the ‘epidemic ‘of thefts involving mobile devices – and they need to do it right away.

“A coalition of law enforcement officials, political leaders and consumer groups, called the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S) Initiative, wants a ‘kill switch’ installed on all new smartphones that would make them useless anywhere in the world if they are reported stolen.”

Who can argue with the intentions here? No one can, anymore than they can argue with the intentions of laws that purport to protect us from terrorism or make healthcare more affordable.

Who should be concerned about the implications of this? Everyone should.

(On December 20, California State Senator Mark Leno [D. – San Franpsycho] announced that he would introduce a smartphone kill switch bill in January.)

Rule 2: Always ask what is next. Tyranny always grows bigger and uglier.

Ty Cobb. The Georgia Peach.

Ty Cobb

The original personal income tax was implemented in 1913. It had a top rate of six percent. The bottom bracket – one percent – only applied to those with incomes over $20,000 per year, e.g. Ty Cobb. No one ever dreamed that it would morph into the monstrosity that we so fear today.

The Patriot Act was sold to us as necessary “to go after the terrorists.” And who were the terrorists? Everyone knew who the terrorists were. It was those guys over there. You know, those scary looking brown guys with names like Ahmed and Omar. Few thought that it was a “gateway drug” that would pave the way for the NSA’s Orwellian PRISM program which can track every piece of information that moves electronically.

The original duty of police was to hunt down and apprehend murders, rapists, thieves and other violent criminals. They were fairly benign and most people – including yours truly – considered them to be on the side of the citizens. Who ever imagined that they would come to resemble an occupying army?

Meanwhile in Afghanistan. Actually, this is in Box Elder County, in the northwestern corner of Utah.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan. Actually, this is in Box Elder County in northwest Utah.

 Rule 3: Government is always more dangerous than the problems it is supposed to cure.

Does anyone seriously think that, once implemented, mandatory “kill switch” technology will only be used to solve crimes involving smartphones? Does anyone seriously think that a government that reserves the right to spy, search, imprison and kill without due process could restrain itself in the use of such technology?


Somewhere in or near Boston on April 19.

Two months ago, a million residents of the Boston area were treated to a horrifying exhibit of police state tyranny. Buses and trains were shut down, and the streets were full of militarized police executing door-to-door warrantless searches in pursuit of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

If such measures were necessary here, why are they not necessary every time there is a suspect on the loose? And if the authorities have the technology and authority to shut down some smartphones, why wouldn’t they want the ability to shut down all smartphones?

And if they will do this, what will they do next?

Watch this video.  It is not at all gratuitous. All the information is taken from mainstream media sources. The American police state has grown to positively horrifying proportions, especially since 9/11. Local police departments everywhere have become far more federalized and militarized. As always, it is advertised as necessary to keep us safe.

What is even more frightening is that so many people persist in their belief that all of this “serves and protects” them.

If you are such a person, just remember that in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia the police had very extensive powers. And there wasn’t a lot of street crime. Would you want to live in either place?

About Food for the Thinkers

My name is Doug Newman. I live in Aurora, Colorado, just outside Denver. Food for the Thinkers is mostly about the connection between Christianity and libertarianism. Most Christians do not understand libertarianism. And most libertarians do not understand Christianity. Hopefully, this blog helps clear up those misunderstanding. Check out my old page at www.thefot.us And remember: When you let people do whatever they want, you get Woodstock. But when you let governments do whatever they want, you get Auschwitz.
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2 Responses to What Is Next? An NSA “Kill Switch” for Smartphones? (Or, Three Basic Rules about Tyranny) – UPDATED

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