You might have heard about the the U.S. government giving Apple, the company that has made a large number of our phones, a court order to open a phone of a California shooter. What you may not know is that if Apple can't find legal support in fighting against this court order, the U.S. government and National Security Association will have access to all the private and personal information on your phone.
The whole case started after a San Bernardino shooting in late December, where a husband and wife shot and killed 14 people. The Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to break into the suspects’ phones. However, after investigators were unable to access the phone after 10 tries the phone automatically deleted all of its data and permanently locked them out, which is standard protocol for most Apple smartphones that have been fully updated. Investigators with the FBI then asked for Apple’s assistance in unlocking the phone and retrieving the lost information.
Apple has historically been compliant with investigations. However, since the data was already lost prior to the FBI asking for assistance, Apple would have had to give investigators the software to retrieve and access the data. The problem here is that this software not only opens that one single iPhone, but it is also able to open and access information on any Apple device. The FBI, however, claims the software it wants Apple to create will only affect the one iPhone used by the terrorists in the Dec. 2 shooting.
At this point, Apple declined to give the FBI access to the software because of their policy regarding the privacy of other Apple customers who would potentially be impacted by government officials having access to their phone records. While it would benefit the case, the information that is suspected to be held in the phone’s data is not essential to the trial’s success or failure. Prosecutors should be able to convict the criminals with the evidence they already have, leading to suspicion that the FBI are orchestrating this case to force major companies to develop software that will give them access to all of the smartphones in the United States.
As this is a developing case which goes to trial next week, I am on the side of Apple. It is our right to keep our information to ourselves and have the peace of mind that others can't access it without our permission. It is an invasion of privacy, and the government appears to be trying to manipulate their way into accessing our texts, photos, and personal information on our apps and social media in an unethical way. While the case is focused on Apple itself, it wouldn’t shock me if Google or Microsoft are the ones that are having this problem in a similar situation soon.
It is understandable to use the software to get incriminating evidence on terrorists or mass murderers. However, the average American isn’t doing anything to justify the government accessing their personal information. There isn't a different software program for the average iPhone in comparison to the iPhone owned by a serial killer. The only way this would be safe is if the company kept the software and used it to their discretion and opened records only when partnering with government agencies to conduct investigations.We all deserve to have all of our information kept safe and private, and there should be no exceptions to that.