Apple vs. The FBI and What it means for Civilians


              Individual privacy is becoming increasingly scrutinized as more instances of crime and terrorism arise where the government needs to access private records in order to provide evidence of the events and prevent future ones.  In this most recent case, a massacre in San Bernardino that took place last December has the Federal Bureau of Investigation attempting to force Apple to allow a government backdoor into their nearly impenetrable local phone security system.  The problem with this is that allowing the law enforcement agencies to bypass the security system is that it allows them to unlock all other phones of the same model in a short and simple way and sets precedent for all other hardware and software that has built in encryption.

On one side, Senator Tom Cotton, speaking for the US government says that, “Apple [is choosing] to protect a dead Isis terrorist’s privacy over the security of the American people.”  Apple counters this notion with the argument that it is not because they sympathize with terrorists but because they are fundamentally against purposely adding flaws into the security system of their products that would allow both the US government and any potential hackers to have a backdoor into the phone’s security system and, therefore, all sensitive data.

The US government is currently creating a lawsuit against Apple in an attempt to force the company to allow the backdoor using the All Writs Act of 1789 which allows for enforcement agencies to use any appropriate means to aid in their respective jurisdictions.  Either result to the case will result in large precedents for the future of all tech companies.  Should the US government win then it may cause all security systems to have installed a backdoor so that government may access any sensitive data, which will also allow an access point for hackers.  Should Apple successfully defend themselves, the backdoor will not be installed and people’s private data will remain private.

Follow the attacks that took place 11/9/2001, the people pushed for a change in policy to allow government more access to sensitive data.  As time passed, people began to push back for keeping their data private after the fear of terrorism had died back down.  It is currently in the hands of the court to decide the balance between national security and individual privacy as the events unfold.

-Winston Colby

Articles Consulted: Article 1 Article 2


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