The feud between Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Federal Government has been building for a long time, as public opinion around the nation remains split on the issue.
It all began back in December of 2015, when Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple from California, killed 14 people and seriously injured 22 others in a terrorist attack in the state’s city of San Bernadino. According to FBI Director James B. Comey, the federal investigation revealed that the culprits were “homegrown violent extremists,” inspired by “foreign terrorist organizations.”
To aid in their further investigations, the F.B.I. enlisted the help of Apple to help it hack an iPhone of one of the perpetrators, which cannot be accessed because of a passcode lock. However, the multinational technology company refused to build a custom software to bypass the phone’s security feature. This prompted the F.B.I. to accuse the company of obstructing a critical investigation, which involves national security implications.
In court, Apple is defending their claims that the government’s ability to tell companies they have to do something that they don’t necessarily want to do is unfair. The company is also claiming that breaking in to the phone and fulfilling the wishes of the F.B.I. would be endangering all of its customers. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook made a statement at an Apple event, saying, “We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy.”
Today, both groups are sticking to their respective arguments, with Apple in favor of privacy for all its customers, and the F.B.I. in favor of doing the whole nation a justice by unlocking the iPhone of a terrorist.
However this battle has grown increasingly impactful on public opinion. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, 50 percent of respondents said Apple should help to unlock the iPhone, while 45 percent were opposed to the idea.
The Justice Department announced on Monday that they had accessed the iPhone’s data with the help of a non-government affiliated company. This has added another topic to the debate: whether or not the Federal Government should tell Apple how they unlocked the iPhone, in order to allow Apple a chance to update their security.
Margaret Joel ’16, World News Editor