Apple’s privacy decision is rash



Timothy Cook, cheif executive at Apple, has expressed discontent with U.S. law enforcement and refuses to allow the government access to locked iPhones [CC-BY-SA]

In this age of technology, where we are constantly surrounded by cameras and screens, our lives have become less and less private. Every message we send, call we make, tweet we write, and photo we post is stored in the “Cloud.”

Many would like to think that the “Cloud,” being sacred, should never be accessed by anyone and especially not by law enforcement or intelligence agencies. Oh no, let’s not let our security forces have access to critical data that could be used to bring criminals to justice and prevent further crimes, that would be absurd.

Sadly, this is the mentality of many today. However, I am shocked that some of the brightest minds in the world share this same mentality.

After the iPhone of the deceased Syed Rizwan Farook, one the shooters in the San Bernardino attack, was recovered by law enforcement, officials asked if Apple would unlock the phone that was running iOS 8, a relatively new encryption software run on iPhones. But Apple refused. A line was drawn and wouldn’t dare be crossed to preserve the privacy of their customers.

Law enforcement officials have gone to Apple to unlock older iPhone models that were key pieces of evidence in countless prosecutions with little to no hesitation from the company. Now Apple’s executives fear unlocking newer iPhones would turn customers away in fear that their data is no longer private.

It’s understandable that Apple fears the loss of business. Privacy is one of the main reasons that customers buy the company’s products and trust their information is safe.

However, Cook’s decision is rash, done in fear of an imaginary domino effect. The decision was made in fear that unlocking one phone will lead to a mass panic.

Yes, privacy is important but should a business prospects come before a search warrant? Does a perpetrator of a crime still have the right to keep the data on any of their electronic devices private?

I honestly think not. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies should have access to this type of information when they are trying to convict a person of a heinous crime.

It seems this whole situation has been blown way out of proportion. Government officials are asking for phones to be unlocked that may hold evidence that could put a criminal in jail. They aren’t asking for every phone to be brought under their domain so they have access to every device in the nation. That is where the line should be drawn. But we are far from reaching that point.