The December 2, 2015 San Bernardino shooting is an event that will not soon drift from any of our minds. Especially not for those of us for whom it hit so very close to home. It would seem that the events of that day are once again in the news. However, this time it is not of the events themselves, but rather of its investigation.
Throughout the course of investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) obtained the iPhone of one of the terrorists, Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone to be precise. The FBI has now asked Apple, the maker of the iPhone, to create and install a “backdoor” that would let them break into the iPhone and find any data that could assist them in their investigation.
However, Apple did not simply comply with the FBI’s order—they denied it.
In a letter to their customers Apple came forward and discussed what the FBI asked, and some say ordered, them to do. Apple refused because they say that this software does not exist, and creating it would put the security of millions, if not billions, of iPhones, iPads, iPods and other systems that use the Apple encryption system all across the world at terrible risk. It would also create a dangerous precedent, as if the government were permitted access to this one iPhone; what would stop them from accessing those of any other person anywhere in the world.
In contrast, a great many people have come forward angry at Apple. The counter argument on this side is that the government needs access to that phone and Apple should go along with the process. The data on that iPhone has the potential of helping keep the American public safe. Still more argue that the unlock order should be obeyed when it is taken into consideration that this iPhone was, in fact, government issued. Some have even accused Apple of taking this stance to protect their image and keep sales up, while at the same time aiding terrorists and hindering the efforts of the United States government.
There is a completely valid, reasonable argument for both sides, and that is why this case is being taken to court. Most experts agree that this will be a landmark court case and either way the ruling goes it will set a precedent for governmental data acquisition.