Let’s recap: The FBI has an iPhone that was used by one of the shooters in San Bernadino and they want Apple to help them unlock the phone in hopes of finding additional evidence against the shooter. Apple is refusing to create a software backdoor to unlock the phone asserting that this sets a dangerous precedent and would allow the FBI (and potentially others, like oppressive regimes) to break into virtually any iPhone.
The country, and even tech firms in the county, are deeply divided on this matter. I’ll state off the bat that my bias is towards privacy and personal security (siding with Apple) in this matter, but I want to present an alternative perspective.
As the owner of a small business, a tech company, and producer of software myself, I wish to shed a different light on this case. A court magistrate has just ruled that Apple must create software to allow the FBI to break into this particular phone; they insist that this neither sets a precedent, nor would this software be extensible to any other phone.
Let’s break this down… a US court (judicial branch) is ordering a company to create a product, for free, that diminishes the value of another product that this same company produced for a profit. How can this be constitutional? Forget, for a minute, the tech and security aspect, and just think of this in terms of the US Judicial Branch 1) ORDERING a business to produce a product 2) for free 3) that directly diminishes the value of said companies goods and services.
When the case is viewed from a personal security vs national security perspective, I understand both sides – some would rather give up their personal freedoms for additional government security (ironically, most of these citizens typically argue for smaller government) while others would give up an ounce of national security for a pound of personal freedom (did I mention my bias?). Still, I can see both sides.
Yet when you look at this as a case of the government ordering a business to produce a free product for their use, I cannot see two sides.
Let the FBI bid out the project to crack this phone. McAfee has already offered to hack the phone. For free. But he also sides with Apple that they should stand fast against the FBI in this case. I’m no hacker, but I admire McAfee and Apple for their stances.