by Lizzie Crotty
Recently, the FBI asked Apple to create software to bypass security on its iPhones, so that they can access information on the phones of the San Bernardino shooters that they otherwise couldn’t. Apple has denied this request. They published a letter on their website addressing the issue and explaining why they see this request as a threat to their customers security. (You can read the letter here: http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/)
This squabble between one of America’s leaders in technology, and one of America’s leaders in security is significant in that it has everyone debating a citizen’s right to privacy, or conversely, the government’s right to that much power.
My main concern is that once this technology is created, what is keeping it from falling into the hands of someone other than the FBI? Once something this powerful has come to fruition it is hard to keep it truly contained. One may liken it to a nuclear bomb. Once this technology was created there was a race to see who else could create them and how many. iPhones hold a lot of information about us, probably more than we would like to admit or acknowledge. Anyone with access to all of the data on our phone could easily see anything from where we live to our Social Security Number. Anything you have ever typed into your phone, or any place you have ever visited while your location services were on, they would have access to all of it. That one time your mom texted you her credit card number? Yep, they could see that too.
However, isn’t national security more important that personal privacy in many matters? I tend to agree with that statement, especially in this case, where the information will be used for our safety. If you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have to worry about it, right? Yet, imagine the threat to national security if a terrorist organization were to access this technology. If it could truly be promised that this software would only be used in investigations of this type, and remain in sole custody of the FBI, then sure, go right ahead, but even Apple doesn’t seem to think that to be true.