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State vs. Apple

Telecom service providers often promise confidentiality in their services over everything else. However, certain people have questioned whether the same philosophy, allegedly used as a potential marketing gimmick against the US Government, could be deemed as a brazen disregard of the law. Syed Rizwan Farooq, a terrorist involved in the murder of 14 people in San Bernardino, is said to have operated and communicated over certain applications on his iPhone. However, when the Government requested for Apple’s help to break into that phone, they refused to comply. In its defence, Apple stated that the access to such information wouldn’t just expose the terrorist but also expose the privacy of every other iPhone user.

The FBI was quite naturally unimpressed with the reasoning that Apple had to offer. The investigative agency filed a case against them in court compelling them to do so. There was another complaint filed by the FBI which stated that Apple was prioritising their brand marketing strategies over public interest and security. However, Apple is clearly in no mood for intimidation and stated that they would challenge the orders in court. The FBI remained very vocal about their feelings towards the IT industry. The bureau’s top man James Comey has openly slammed the IT company for supporting the “bad guys”. “Have we become so mistrustful of government and law enforcement in particular that we are willing to let bad guys walk away, willing to leave victims in search of justice,” he said. 

An official from the US Congress stated that although it is important to protect personal privacy, one shouldn’t forget the company’s responsibility towards the government. “The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law,” the official went on to add.  US Presidential nominee Donald Trump has also come out in public for a ban on all the major Apple products. The Industry, meanwhile, does not support the claims of the government. Most IT companies have backed Apple in their war against the state.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook took things a level higher as he wrote a letter to the iPhone users and the public in general as he writes, “The government suggests this tool (special software to open the phone) could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks – from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”

As it currently appears, the battle is just seeming to heat up between the State and the tech giant Apple with none willing to give up on their respective arguments.
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