“Like”, “Friend”, and “Retweeting” with the Federal Government
“Like”, “Friend”, “Retweeting”
We live in a time of mobility. Consider for a moment everything that you do on a smartphone or tablet. We use devices like this as a primary form of communication with friends, family, and to conduct business. We take, store, and share pictures and videos. We complete work projects and send information that helps us and others in our jobs and careers. We do research that is personal and work related. We take care of our finances and conduct banking. We shop to purchase things and we ship packages engaging in everyday commerce. We entertain ourselves with video games, movies, music, and we browse social media postings. We text, tweet, and Snapchat incessantly even more so than make phone calls. There is very little we don’t do outside of the use of our mobile devices.
Currently, the FBI is engaging in a legal battle using the courts to try and force Apple, Inc. to create software that will allow the FBI to gain access to the locked iPhone of one of the former San Bernardino terrorists.
The FBI contends that what they are requesting is simply software that nullifies the result of ten wrong passcode attempts. If any user has selected the feature on an iPhone or iPad to erase all data after ten wrong passcode attempts, all the data stored on that device is gone just like a Mission Impossible self-destruct note. If the FBI gets said software then they can freely work to crack the passcode of the iPhone without fear of losing the data.
So what’s the big deal? Why has Apple decided to resist the monstrosity of the Federal Government, and act as an obstructionist toward the safety and security from potential future terrorist acts? It’s quite simple; they value the trust of their customers.
Apple is doing something that other companies have forsaken over the years. They are taking a principled stand regarding their business-to-customer relationship by protecting their customers’ information.
We live in an age where vendors and companies strive to know everything they can about the consumer. Facebook and Google use your information as their profit centers by mining the places you visit on the internet and then they sell your tendencies and interests to third party companies. In turn, these companies market directly to you when you go back on the web.
Apple has decidedly and refreshingly said that they will not comply with Federal Court orders to create software that will aid the FBI in gaining access to this one phone. If they were to do so, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO stated, “The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements which protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals,” said Cook. “We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack.”
This fight is about two things that are inextricably intertwined: First, there is the Apple brand, which has marketed its products as safe for users to save and store their information on their Apple devices with complete confidence that no one can see or steal that information. Secondly, there is each American citizen’s Fourth Amendment right to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures –.” This is your right to privacy.
Now ask yourself; do you want the Federal Government to have the power to break into your iPhone or iPad to see what you may have stored on that device? Do you want a Federal Agent reviewing your pictures, videos, internet searches, text messages, social media postings, or any other intimate knowledge about you?
Most of us would answer with an unequivocal “NO!”
So next time you send out that text ranting to your friend about some lame brain politician’s comments, or you snap a picture of some fertilizer chemical you need for the farm, be thankful you have an Apple iPhone. Apple may be the only thing standing in the way of you, and an over-intrusive, rights-abusive Federal Government that considers “restraint” a four-letter word.