Ever since the 2015 Apple conference, the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, has made user privacy a crucial selling point. This move was internationally applauded by privacy fans, and has began to encourage other technology companies to take a similar stance. When we heard this, some of us wondered when a confrontation would happen between Apple and the US government. According to the Washington Post, many people have conflicting feelings about the latest showdown between the entities.
Apple is now drawing fire for their stance on privacy, after the wake of events in San Bernardino. One of the terrorists from the attack was using an encrypted iPhone. The US wants access to the phone, and is trying to force Apple to assist them. A federal judge ordered that Apple was to create an override, so the information could be accessed.
However, Cook argued that creating a backdoor would “have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.” The question is, will Apple win this case? No matter what, the next several weeks will be interesting to watch. Since the company uses it’s privacy to separate itself from the competition, it has to be shown that Apple is willing to fight this kind of privacy invasion, even if they are being ordered by the court. There are mixed feelings about this litmus test, though.
These feelings stem from users wanting to help law enforcement get a more robust picture of the attacks, and possibly help prevent future attacks. On the other hand, users don’t like the idea of their devices being compromised, no matter who it is by. Apple does not want to look unpatriotic, but at the same time, they want to send a message to their global market.
In a post Snowden era, keeping things private has become a hot button issue, and one that has put Apple at odds with law enforcement. You don’t have to look hard to find strong statements being issued in a public forum. A big argument is, if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. That argument is often discounted by privacy advocates.
How far this argument will go is hard to say, but you can bet there will be important challenges on both sides of the debate. Ultimately, Apple may lose this war, but you have to give them credit for trying to protect their users, even in the face of government threats.