This is absolutely a plausible scenario. Just because someone has an encrypted partition (or two, or three, etc), does not, without exception, mean that these partitions are accessible. A forgotten key is not beyond the scope of reasonableness.
Actually, I'm not so sure this is related to searching so much as the Third-Party Doctrine, which was created by the Supreme Court as part of a ruling in a drug case. It needs to be abolished. There is practically little we can do in our day-to-day lives that does not require interaction with a third party, and this will almost always leave some kind of data trail. Third party or not, the government should have no access to this information, and no reason to acquire it, unless a person is a legitimate suspect in an ongoing investigation.
> We have no representation in congress,
That is our own fault. As long as we continue treating candidates like items on a fast food menu, nothing will change. Voters need to get involved during the primaries, and select and support candidates who are not there to perpetuate the status quo. Business as usual is *all* you're going to get from seasoned, incumbent, and party-endorsed candidates, especially those on the national level.
> A police officer
Bingo. The fact that an actual human resource was required in order for this happen made it so that police departments *had* to be extremely judicious with how they allocated these resources. These built-in constraints forced departments into to maintaining a lawful and constitutional approach to searching. This is the same standard that *ought* to be applied to new technology - merely being able to accomplish the same thing much faster does not in any way diminish constitutional relevance.
Why should the government be licensing anything (the NSA no less)? It is not a commercial enterprise. Furthermore, it seems like the "technologies" at stake would be those that facilitate the kinds of illegal and unconstitutional activities that have been going on, unchecked, until Snowden exposed them.
What exactly would stop Congress from doing this (other than a lazy electorate that doesn't care enough to make it an issue)?
Are we really that completely helpless? All of this was perpetrated by, and maintained by *congress*. It can easily be fixed by congress. Little will change, however, if we do not step up and hold our elected representatives accountable, by first and foremost, ensuring that the *right* people are serving in office. And by "serving" I do not mean "self-serving," which seems to be standard fare these days.
It should be noted that this comes from the same Old Testament they conveniently ignore day in and day out.
Funny thing - if you read the wikipedia page that covers the NSA, it's mind boggling how much money has been poured into that agency, and what little return we've seen on that investment. The headqurters look like someone's science fiction wet dream.
Feinstein recently commented something to the effect that the reason they collect all this information is because "immediacy is imperative" in order to foil terrorist plots. It's a hilarious statement, because it's something her little pet agency has yet to do. That being the case, how could she possibly know this? Her reasoning defies everything we've ever seen with respect to information and terrorism.
> Bureaucratic overreach is hardly confined to the Federal government, and often occurs in conjunction with it.
Especially if it's funded *by* the federal government. It wouldn't come as a bit of a surprise if the acquisition of this Stingray device was funded by one of many federal grants the the national government has been handing out in an effort to militarize local law enforcement agencies.
Seriously - for the entire history of this country, we've had laws that say, "first you suspect someone of committing, or conspiring to commit a crime, THEN you spy on them." What's not to understand?
It might also behoove us to remember that much of this spying is done by *third-party contractors*. This means that it's not only the government with access to this information, hired hands as well. God only knows where the information might end up.
> So what about Apple kept them from screwing up as bad as M$?
"Shiny" and "Marketing"
Micromanagement is every bit as good as open space.
I don't see how it is possible to make any conclusion with respect to whether or not we have a say in matters, UNTIL we actually say something. By this, I mean that a large number of voters stop feeling sorry for themselves, take a serious look a candidates that do not receive corporate funding, and then VOTE for them.
After this, it is incumbent on the electorate to monitor the performance of their new representative - if the key issue is not being addressed, recall them.