We are in the midst of a very publicized court case between Apple and the FBI. In the last couple of weeks this has been going on, it was everything anyone would talk about. The fight has been vicious with both sides taking a strong stance on what they believe. Apple and FBI are set to appear before Congress, but in the meantime, let’s go over some of their main arguments.
This February, the FBI ordered Apple to break security protections on Syed Farook’s phone, the San Bernandino terrorist, shocking everyone. Although this sounds like a quite reasonable request, it would actually mean that Apple would need to create a complete new software with weaker security on all iPhone devices, which would, in this time of many cyber attacks, reflect horribly on everyday users and the company alike. Moreover, if Apple were to do this, an even bigger scandal would breakout. With iPhones storing millions of pieces of private data, such as birthdays, photos, messages with loved ones, financial account information, it would be outrageous if all this got compromised. What is more, if Apple was to comply with FBI’s order, it would basically undermine what they marketed as one of their main fundamentals, privacy of their users.
Possibly, the most significant argument Apple has presented is that opening this back door into the iPhones of the general public would threaten the basic human rights. The right to privacy would be breached. In addition, apart from breaching human rights, this would violate the First Amendment, Apple’s free speech, and the Fifth Amendment, the general public’s right to liberty, which, as analysts predict, could carry the most weight in court. Furthermore, Apple is also, understandably, afraid that if this were to happen, it wouldn’t stop here. What would be next? Tracking people’s location? Secretly using iPhone’s camera to record sound and video?
However, as catching criminals and stopping terrorists is also in our best interest, the FBI’s request resonates as reasonable, too. The FBI bases their arguments on All Writs Act, a law dating back to 1700s, which allows the court to issue writs that would help in fighting crime, when there is no other legal option available. Even though Apple’s arguments are much stronger, it is also a possibility that the FBI will win the court case, since their interest is of general safety importance to all of us.
An equally interesting aspect of this controversy are the prominent people that have expressed their support for either side. The FBI has Bill Gates on its side, while, interestingly enough, Microsoft has stated that they support Apple. Marc Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, Jan Koum, the founder of Whatsapp, and Sundar Pichai, a Chief Executive of Google, stand on Apple’s side of the court, too.
The court hearing is scheduled for March 22, and analysts predict that the losing side will almost definitely appeal the judge’s decision, with the case ultimately ending up in the Supreme Court.
As this story further unfolds, I would love to hear your opinion on all of this. Do you think that the FBI’s request is reasonable? Who is in the right? Who do you predict will win?
Image 3: http://www.activistpost.com/