Digital Privacy

Apple vs. FBI

2016.02

Digital Privacy (Tim Cook vs. FBI)
Digital Privacy
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On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 21 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at a non-profit service center for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, CA.

  • The perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were a married Muslim couple, and they targeted a training event and holiday party hosted by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.

The crime was initially presumed to be a random act of violence, but it quickly became clear that it was an act of terrorism.

  • The couple had amassed a large stockpile of weapons, ammunition, and bomb-making equipment in their home, and authorities raised the possibility that the couple had been involved with a terrorist organization.

The Federal District Court for the District of Central California issued an order that Apple create a “backdoor” for the terrorist suspect’s iPhone so that the FBI could bypass security functions on the phone. However, Apple publicly refused to assist in the FBI’s efforts.

  • In the past, Apple has cooperated with the FBI to provide useful information in busting crimes.
  • However, in this case, Apple refused the request for a “backdoor” that would allow the FBI to bypass Apple to obtain all of the iPhone’s information. (In 2014, Apple added a new option to its phones; users could activate a function that would erase all the data from the phone after 10 failed passcode attempts. When the FBI failed to access the records locked in Farook’s iPhone, they asked Apple to create a new version of the operating system software that could disable the data-erase function.)

Apple declined this request, stating that it would undermine the security features of its products and also because it would create a way for the FBI to breach the privacy of its users in the future as well.

In response to Apple, presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized and called for the boycott of Apple products through Twitter, saying, “If Apple doesn’t give info to authorities on the terrorists I’ll only be using Samsung until they give info.”

Which is more important: the access to the suspect’s phone for the sake of national security, or ensuring the privacy of iPhone users throughout the world? Do you support Tim Cook or do you support Donald Trump?

Please discuss the topic of data security with your Ringle Tutor.

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