It’s easy for people on the Right, especially those that call themselves Libertarians, to become ecstatic when a company defies the Federal Government’s involvement with personal privacy. The most recent cause for excitement is that Apple has refused to cooperate with the FBI in an investigation of the San Bernardino shooting.
First off, we have to distinguish what is actually going on here. The FBI has been trying to gain access to the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters with absolutely ZERO luck. In fact, they admitted they had to be careful because, after 10 incorrect tries, the phone would automatically delete all content and information. The FBI then obtained a warrant demanding that Apple unlock the phone, Apple refused, and the internet went nuts with misinformation.
Why? Well, because the FBI is also demanding that Apple develop a “backdoor” into their system for the law enforcement agencies to access. The argument here is that agencies like the FBI need to obtain pertinent information in a timely manner. The counter-argument to that is that it allows the government “unfettered access to Apple users’ information and devices”. When Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, defied the Federal Government, the liberty movement cheered him as a “defender of liberty”. They could not be more wrong.
This was not at all a move to protect the users, this was a brilliant move by Cook and Apple to protect the company. The issue with the backdoor is that it would, if created, be the destruction of Apple as a company. See, the Fed cannot require foreign companies to create these kinds of software exploits for them, so foreign companies would simply take over the phone/tablet market that Apple dominates.
All it would take is for Samsung to say “hey guys, you know that douchey thing Apple did with your privacy rights, well the government can’t force us to do that since we are not an American-owned company, so come on over!” and BAM, Samsung destroys Apple in a matter of weeks. Now, obviously this would be much more complicated and not nearly as simple as I have explained it, but you get the picture.
Apple isn’t concerned about protecting your rights, at least, not for that purpose. Apple is a multi-billion dollar company that will say and do anything to keep the consumer happy. They know that if they supported the Fed in this, they would lose the support of the consumer and business would flee to other, non-American companies (and boy would Donald J Trump be pissed there).
In this whole “OMG Apple loves privacy” frenzy, we are missing the fact that Apple is refusing to unlock the phone of a terrorist, and a dead one at that, even after being served a warrant.
I understand the issue with creating a backdoor for the government (there are a ton of security implications as well; if the Fed can hack something, anyone can hack it) and I agree that the government should not be able to force Apple to do that. However, I condemn Apple for refusing to cooperate specifically in this investigation and I hope Silicon Valley and the Fed can find a way to cooperate on this issue in a way that both protects our privacy and protects our nation.