The United States has a long history of slavery. Since the very beginning of this country through the end of the Civil War black individuals could be owned as slaves in many states. After that the rules were changed. Private ownership of slaves was deemed illegal (a very good thing) but the State gave itself permission to enslave anybody it arbitrarily labeled as a criminal (a very bad thing). Eventually the process was streamlined and Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) was created so manage the federally owned slaves. Individual states used this precedence to establish their own government owned corporations to managed their slaves.
Now a congressman is looking to change the rules yet again by expanding the State’s ability to own slaves. If passed, this bill will allow the State to enslave anybody by issuing a simple court order:
Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, reportedly will introduce legislation soon to criminalize a company’s refusal to aid decryption efforts as part of a governmental investigation. The news was first reported Thursday afternoon by the Wall Street Journal.
Aiding decryption efforts requires labor. In the San Bernardino case the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is order Apple to create a custom version of iOS that removes several key security features. Apple has refused and it has every right to do so because nobody should be compelled into performing labor against their will. If the FBI wants the phone unlocked so badly it can either put in the effort itself or hire somebody willing to try.
We’re living in interesting times. The State is seeing less and less reason to conceal its intentions.