The iPhone Debate : Special Feature

by Bill Nolan

It’s impossible to miss what’s brewing between the US Government and Apple these days. Although we don’t know the exact details of what the FBI is asking for, the consensus is that they want Apple to develop ‘backdoor’ software that allows the Government to circumvent cryptographic security features on the iPhone. In turn, possibly giving them access to stored details on Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone, one of the San Bernardino shooters. While everyone and their mother has an opinion on the matter, I prefer to understand the all ramifications of this decision. Not only is this about national security, it is about personal security and our privacy. Sometimes you need to take a look at the bigger picture, and ask yourself if this is a quick fix that will come back to bite us in the long run, or is this a fix to prevent disastrous consequences in the future? It’s probably both.

iPhone Debate

This is without a doubt, one of the toughest spots Apple could find themselves, and it’s naive to think the final decision wouldn’t possibly be a lose-lose situation for millions of people.

Let’s take a deep breath here and look at the pro’s and con’s of what could possibly happen…

Personal Security:

If Apple designs a way to crack the iPhone it will only be a matter of time before hackers catch that wind, if they haven’t already. Think about what’s on your phone. So many apps enable the storage of extremely valuable details including payment options and services, financial connections and reports and ways to transfer this data off of your phone once access is gained. This is a serious issue. That once impenetrable device that houses your credit card and banking data could be breached. The opportunities for identity theft, fraud and blackmail will definitely increase if this software exists. There is no denying this fact.

Personal Privacy:

Really think now… what is on your phone? Who have you spoken with? What photos have you taken? What games do you play? Maintaining some existence of personal privacy is one of the most compelling arguments in this case. This is the United States after all; we should still have the right to some privacy, right? As true as this statement seems, in this technologically advanced world, privacy is becoming a thing of the past. Take a moment to think of all your personal information floating around out there. Hacking the iPhone makes it even easier for those who want to get at anyone’s personal data… sorry to say. And if Apple develops and signs off on that hack, watch out!

National Security:

Why should Apple do everything in its power to assist the FBI? It’s time to look at this from a national security standpoint. What if the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone contains information that leads to a forthcoming attack? If the Feds had access to these details, it could possibly be stopped or help them find terrorists that may be involved. If you are one that leans more towards personal security, would you set your personal opinion aside if it meant innocent lives being saved? What would it take for you to reconsider? Here’s a scenario. The FBI has come into possession of a smartphone which contains plans for a suicide bombing, a bombing that unbeknownst to you, will kill someone you love. If they had the ability to breach the devices security, this could possibly be prevented. Does this move you?

Could that scenario ever play out? It’s very possible and this example may open eyes to what is really at stake here. Or, maybe it’s worth chancing to maintain that sense of privacy and security. Which is more important. Well, I do not plan to answer that question here… just help everyone think. I do ask myself all of the time, can’t we all just go back to those rotary phones attached to the wall? Wouldn’t life be so much easier then. Right? That may be naive too.

Just an FYI, whether Apple creates that ‘backdoor’ or not, there are hackers on this one already!