Never have I been more proud as a customer than I am at this moment. As of this writing, the technology giant Apple is standing in defiance of a court order compelling them to assist the FBI. The federal government is seeking access to the phone of one of the alleged San Bernardino shooters. And Apple is refusing to cooperate.
Full disclosure: I've owned a wide variety of cellular devices over the past 16 years. And, in my humble opinion, every single one of them pales in comparison to the iPhone. Consider me a proud Apple owner for the forseeable future. Also in the interest of disclosure - but no surprise to Thoughts Plural subscribers - I abhor government. Centralized authority with a monopoly on violence within a given geographic area, I detest with a passion. And as far as the US federal government is concerned, I see it as the greatest criminal enterprise that humans have ever known. All that being said, my position on the battle between Apple and the FBI is almost a given. Allow me to unpack why though.
If I may paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither. And it was Douglas MacArthur who said, “There is no security on this Earth; there is only opportunity.” These two sentiments, together, speak volumes about this case. Swapping freedom for security is pointless because there is no security to be had. Which is why at no point has the FBI assured us that granting their request to hack this particular phone is certain to prevent future attacks. Nor have they guaranteed that this breach of privacy won’t set an irreversible precedent. The bureau simply suggests that accessing the shooter's device might render information about other potential terrorists and therefore Apple’s compliance might prevent a future attack. Weighed against the interests of individual privacy though, I think the FBI's premise is ridiculous, at best.
This is yet another attempt by the federal government to increase its power, nothing more. And we've seen this show before. How many civil liberties were violated in the wake of 9/11, the Boston Bombing and Sandy Hook? The powers-that-shouldn't-be never fail to capitalize on such a crisis; and it's usually to the extreme detriment of the people they claim to lead. Much respect to the good folks at Apple, though, for obstructing this injustice. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shop for a new iPhone.