Privacy vs. Security – The Standoff between Apple and the FBI

June 3, 2016 8:21AM

by: Allen Johnson

Smartphones and Us:

In the modern age, it has become extremely important for us to use smartphones. Not only are these phones smart, but they pretty much take up most of our work up to themselves and complete those with deft efficiency. Now, you do not need to remember an important date like your wedding anniversary, your child’s birthday or even your girlfriend’s birthday. You just have to input the data into your phone and boom!
Your smartphone will remind you of it every year. Well that does not mean that your girlfriend will stay your girlfriend forever but at least your breakup will not happen as an outcome of you forgetting her birthday. Do not girls, the reverse does not apply in your case!

The Apple iPhone Era:

Arguably, iPhones made by Apple are one of the most popular smartphones used by people in these days. Steve Jobs has come a long way from almost a beggar to setting up a company which brought about a revolution in the world of computing and information technology. The popularity of phones from his company stands as a proof of this fact. Apple iPhones can do almost everything. They come loaded with stock inbuilt features which other phones can only dream of. Above all features, the reason people prefer Apple iPhones is because of the high levels of security it offers which makes it impossible to hack into these phones and cause theft of sensitive data.

The Issue Regarding Apple vs. the FBI:

Apple encryption has been an award winning encryption which even federal agencies were unable to crack. This had helped in the building up of growing discontent and muted protests among federal agents who were strictly against this world class encryption. Fuel to this fire was added when terrorists wreaked havoc and killed as many as 14 people in an attack in San Bernardino as recently as 2nd November 2015.
In this case, two terrorists involved in the attack used an iPhone for conversation and thereby used it to take away 14 lives. The FBI are desperate to make their way into the rescued phone in order to get in the depths of this bombing and thereby catch other members of this terrorist gang so that they can be brought to justice. However, Apple is unwilling to reveal the encryption code and is not interested in their case.

What It Means?

Is Apple supporting the terrorists? Such a question is possible. But maybe all Apple is trying to do is to stick to its policies. They have promised to offer privacy to its customers and thus are unwilling to comprise it. Question is that if this encryption can be bypassed, then are we safe? Is our private information and sensitive data safe from falling into the wrong hands? We tend to store a lot of information like bank account number, passwords, fingerprint and so on. So is not encrypting our phone the right thing to do?
What can a layman do if some terrorists perform an attack by exploiting the same encryption which he uses to keep his private information safe? Are we ready to compromise our personal privacy in the interest of national security? Are we comfortable with someone unknown reading our messages while we think we are alone? This really is a tough debate with almost no righteous winner.