Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Commentary

Start Date

5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

The government took Apple to court to demand decryption of a terrorist cell phone. The warrant issued rested on the assumption that law enforcement should be able to do its work through extension of “access” across the population of encrypted iphones. Each phone exists as a defeasible (Rescher 1977) site whose cooperation (access) is assumed to be opened by the the manufacturer if directed to do so by government, unless cause can be shown otherwise. Defeasible argument couples rhetorically with metonymic force as a powerful argument trajectory. The reversal of burden of proof, now placed on the company to defend its encryption, permits the government to extend the scope of its power by turning cell phone companies into its helpers. This is the manner in which a government would "commandeer innocent third parties into becoming its undercover agents, its spies, or its hackers" (Goldman & Segall 2016). The test case was crucial for Apple, but it was resolved by the discovery of a third-party who could gather the information without the manufacturers complicity.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Ilon Lauer and Thomas Lauer, America vs. Apple: the Argumentative Function of Metonyms

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Commentary on “America vs. Apple: the Argumentative Function of Metonyms”: Defeasible Rhetoric: Networks, Security, & Metonyms

University of Windsor

The government took Apple to court to demand decryption of a terrorist cell phone. The warrant issued rested on the assumption that law enforcement should be able to do its work through extension of “access” across the population of encrypted iphones. Each phone exists as a defeasible (Rescher 1977) site whose cooperation (access) is assumed to be opened by the the manufacturer if directed to do so by government, unless cause can be shown otherwise. Defeasible argument couples rhetorically with metonymic force as a powerful argument trajectory. The reversal of burden of proof, now placed on the company to defend its encryption, permits the government to extend the scope of its power by turning cell phone companies into its helpers. This is the manner in which a government would "commandeer innocent third parties into becoming its undercover agents, its spies, or its hackers" (Goldman & Segall 2016). The test case was crucial for Apple, but it was resolved by the discovery of a third-party who could gather the information without the manufacturers complicity.