You have probably heard by now of Apple’s legal battle with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But for those who have not, here’s what has happened so far -- the FBI is investigating a certain iPhone 5c unit owned by one of the terrorists involved in the San Bernardino, California massacre that happened last December. The FBI needs to hack into that iPhone so it requested the help of Apple to bypass the security measures in the iOS mobile operating system. Apple refused so the FBI had a court judge order the iPhone maker to grant the agency’s request. Not giving up, Apple is taking its case to Congress, where both sides are now throwing their respective arguments over matters of national security versus individual privacy.
Which brings us to this post. Here we take a look at the arguments each side is trying to point out, as well as the arguments thrown in by supporters of either Apple or the FBI.
National security. The government has the right to bypass security measures/device encryption in order to protect the citizens of the United States from terrorist and criminal acts. Yes, privacy is important, but so is the safety of everyone else. To catch the bad guys, everybody needs to help each other any way they can.
It is just a one time hack. Apple does not need to create a backdoor for every iPhone device out there. It just needs to change the software a bit so that the FBI can access one specific iPhone device involved in the investigation. Moreover, that backdoor hack will not be used in any way again ever.
It is not just a one time hack. The FBI argues that what it wants Apple to do is create a one time backdoor access to the iPhone being investigated. But Apple has insisted that giving in now will set a precedent for similar scenarios in the future wherein the government is emboldened to force more companies to bypass security measures in cases that may not involve terrorist acts at all, or in cases not always involving national security matters.
Smartphones are personal, private devices. We now live in an age wherein smartphones can now be considered extensions of our personalities, keeping our most precious memories, as well as the repository of information that should never be easily accessible to anybody else. Moreover, as stated in the constitution, every individual’s privacy should be protected, including the personal things that embody it.
Importance of data in this day and age. Personal data has become more sensitive than ever, with people saving information tied to their bank accounts, careers, and social standing. In this day and age wherein identity theft is rampant and information breaches can be significantly damaging to one’s profession and reputation, protecting data has become a huge priority.
Obsolete laws. Some argue that the government wants an extension of a 1977 Supreme Court case called New York Telephone to apply to today’s mobile technology. But laws drafted in the 1970s may no longer be applicable to today’s technology, which has evolved into forms and iterations that lawmakers could never have imagined, never mind understood.
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