Apple Vs Federal Government Essay

Total Length: 988 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 3

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Privacy and Security: Apple vs. Federal Government

With increased usage of smartphones and other mobile devices, concerns over unauthorized access to private and confidential data stored in the devices have soared. In recent times, Apple Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of smartphones in the U.S. and worldwide, resorted to robust cryptographic techniques in an attempt to protect data customers store on its devices. The move has led to a fierce battle between Apple and the federal government, with the latter citing national security concerns. The government's concerns over national security have gained further momentum following the discovery that one of the masterminds of the December 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack owned an iPhone 5C (Stavridis). Unable to unlock the device due to Apple's strong encryption software, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) sought the intervention of the courts to compel Apple, under the premise of All Writs of 1789, to assist in gaining access to the device. Apple strongly defied the order, reiterating its commitment to protecting customer data. This paper looks at both sides of the debate, i.e. Apple's concerns over privacy versus the government's concerns over national security.

For Apple, privacy is integral. Indeed, the right to privacy is a right expressly protected by the constitution in the First Amendment. Amidst increased hacking concerns, the company created arguably the strongest encryption software to prevent access to data held in its devices through backdoor mechanisms -- the data can only be accessed using the user's master password.
With its encryption techniques, it is impossible or extremely difficult for hackers and other cyber criminals to access private information held in Apple devices. This guarantees Apple customers absolute safety of their private information. Indeed, unlike most other mobile devices, the iPhone is now an impossible nut to crack for hackers.

For the government, however, Apple's encryption techniques pose a threat to national security (Stavridis). Criminals can safely use Apple devices to plan and execute attacks. With Apple's strong encryption techniques, it would be extremely difficult for investigative authorities to gather evidence for prosecuting suspects. The case of the San Bernardino attack is an ideal example. The FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) admitted their inability to hack the device owned by one of the terrorists. Devices obtained from suspects in such instances can provide important leads as far as getting to the bottom of the issue is concerned. They can provide records of communication (call records, emails, and so on) between the suspect and other entities that might have collaborated with the suspect to plan and execute the attack, leading to more convincing evidence, more arrests, and the discovery of other attacks the terrorists might have been planning. In this case, for instance, it emerged….....

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Works Cited

Nakashima, Ellen. FBI paid professional hackers one-time fee to crack San Bernardino iPhone. The Washington Post, 12 April 2016. Web. 16 February 2017.

Stavridis, Jim. Apple vs. FBI is not about privacy vs. security -- it is about how to achieve both. Huffington Post, 8 March 2016. Web. 16 February 2017.

Zapotosky, Matt. FBI has accessed San Bernardino shooter's phone without Apple's help. The Washington Post, 28 March 2016. Web. 16 February 2017.

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