Monday, March 21, 2016

Apple's Help Unneeded to Unlock San Bernardino shooter's phone?

                                        
On December 2nd, two terrorists opened fire on people attending a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino killing 14 and injuring 22. The married couple had met online and planned the massacre in their townhouse in Redlands. The two were killed in a shootout with police and husband Syed Rizwans cellphone has been a major piece of evidence that the FBI has been trying to gain full access to ever since. Apple has denied to help the FBI in cracking the phone stating privacy concerns and major controversy has spurred over whether or not Apple should comply.

 Last month, Apple was given a court order to lower security on the Iphone so that the FBI could gain access and Apple has been very strong in their stance that they will not offer any assistance. The court hearing between the two was planned to be held in Riverside on the 22nd of this month but just today the FBI announced that a third party may potentially be able to lower security and that Apple's help may not be a necessity. The hearing has been postponed and the department of Justice will report an update on its progress by April 5th.

If another party has the potential of doing what Apple will not comply to, should Apple just agree to help and save the FBI some time? Do you agree that helping the FBI would be seen by many as an act of invasion of privacy?

Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/21/fbi-apple-court-hearing-postpone-unlock-terrorist-iphone

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/technology/apple-fbi-hearing-unlock-iphone.html


7 comments:

Anna Joshi said...

Personally, I think Apple should uphold their original beliefs and not give in to help the FBI. By doing so they would unlock so many possibilities, such as the right for the government to be able to get into your private phone and the possibility for hackers or other people to get into your phone, both which are seen as an invasion of privacy. Even if the third party is able to unlock the phone, then Apple can take it as a sign that their security system is easy enough to breech and that in order to calm down the masses that may freak out over this, they’ll create an even tighter security system. (This is just hypothetical and my brain thinking, but I don’t know if this is even possible since I’m not totally immersed into the tech world.) But overall, in this case, I think that by helping the FBI gain access to the phone, it would be an invasion of privacy, and would allow the FBI and the government to technically open anybody’s phone at any given demand and time.

Maggie Yeung said...

I agree with Anna. While it is important for the FBI to gain access to this phone, allowing easier access to the phone would set a dangerous precedent for any future case, which could potentially result in much less privacy for Apple's customers. By allowing this third party to lower security on this phone, Apple can avoid backlash from people concerned with privacy.

Charles Cao said...

I totally agree with Maggie's sentiments. If Apple gives us the right to privacy for this case, at what point will these breach of privacy stop? Allowing the FBI to unlock people's sensitive information will surely set a dangerous precedent for the future. Our right to privacy should always be the priority. I applaud Apple's desire to uphold their customer's privacy, and I think they are doing a great job in the fight so far.

Steven Lee said...

Although I do agree with the sentiments of the people who commented above, further reading of this dispute shows that Apple actually originally complied with court rulings and orders from the FBI. Tim Cook originally asked for the FBI to keep quiet about helping them out with creating a back door for the phone in question but for some reason the FBI decided to go public on the situation. This prompted for Tim Cook to try and save face by taking a stance in favor of consumer privacy. That being said, I do not believe that Apple should compromise consumer privacy and not create a backdoor for any of their products. Ironically National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, is in favor of encryption and is against backdoors; a position that the FBI is definitely against. One of my biggest concerns outside of Big Brother being able to tap into anybody's phone, is the international precedent that this may create. China and Russia are waiting to see if Apple is going to cave into what the FBI is telling them to do. They are doing this because if the FBI indeed does get their way, then those countries may be able to force Apple to give them the same kind of treatment with future products.

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/why-apple-vs-govt-storyline-fake-designed-distract-public

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/19/technology/how-tim-cook-became-a-bulwark-for-digital-privacy.html

https://theintercept.com/2016/01/21/nsa-chief-stakes-out-pro-encryption-position-in-contrast-to-fbi/

Michael Lanthier said...

I agree with all the comments above. Like Charles said, this would be a very dangerous precedent to set in the future for privacy rights. Also if Apple was to comply in a case this public, they would begin to lose customers.

But another question arises, where do we draw the line. This investigation is currently after the fact and could have been avoided by the FBI. When does national security trump the privacy of individuals?

Adjon Tahiraj said...

I think that many people above fail to see that the government isn't doing this so they can grab people's information without reason. With everything, that is going on around the world with all the bombings and terrorist attacks, we never know what useful information could be gathered from that phone. All it takes is one phone number or one message that could lead to something large unfolding and maybe prevent another attack.

Teague Bredl said...

The NSA already has computer chips in all of our brains anyway. In the case of the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, I think it's alright for Apple to help the FBI look through the phone because the attacks warrant an actual investigation. But when I text all my drug dealers, I don't want them looking through my phone until after I get caught. I really can't tell how much privacy I would give up for preventative measures or for justice but it all depends on what the FBI is doing with our data. There's no question about whether it's an invasion of privacy to me, but is it warranted? They randomly targeted people at a rec center in the middle of California, I don't see much reason to the attacks and it's hard to prevent unreasonable people from doing things. Maybe the FBI can link this couple to other prospective terrorists or maybe they can learn why they did this terrible thing but there are some lines that can be drawn and they are definitely ambiguous.