Apple fights FBI on privacy case

Gabby Galluzzo | Contributor

FBI investigators want Apple to unlock known San Bernadino suspect’s iPhone to gather important data.

FBI investigators want Apple to unlock known San Bernadino suspect’s iPhone to gather important data.

Apple sells more smartphones than any other company in the United States and many students at the University of San Diego use Apple phones and computers. The tech giant is setting a precedent with a recent case and is choosing to side with consumers.

Two months have passed since the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California and the FBI is still working to piece together the tragedy. The FBI requested that Apple configure new software that can disable the security feature that erases data from the iPhone after too many unsuccessful attempts to unlock it.

Apple has publicly refused to comply on the grounds that this could potentially enable the government, criminals, and others to intercept messages and other information. This decision also comes from Apple’s concern for their brand marketing, according to U.S. Justice Department Lawyers.

First year Kaidyn McClure believes that this was the right decision for the company. McClure agrees that this could help the cause of the investigation but she also sees the potential for abuse if Apple creates a backdoor into their technology.

“In this situation the government wishes to interfere with cellular security with the goal of keeping the nation safer,” McClure said. “However, it’s dangerous to give the government this kind of power because it opens the door for a future abuse of public privacy rights.”

Many people believe that Apple is siding with their customers solely for business purposes. McClure is not bothered by this reasoning but just relieved that Apple is staying loyal to customers.

“I don’t want to say Apple is selfish because their first priority should be their customers and they should do their best to keep themselves from losing money because if their model becomes damaged than it is possible that their customers could turn to competitors like Samsung.”

McClure thinks that the FBI should retreat to, or rely on past ways of tracking down terrorists and gathering information for this case. Not all students agree with Apple’s decision though.   

Sophomore David Fox, believes that national security should be more of a priority than individual privacy.

“I disagree with Apple because the transparency of our government security is what keeps our nation secure,” Fox said.  “If I was the head of the FBI, and Apple refused our request, I would take the matter straight to the President and get Executive Order…fight fire with fire! It is ridiculous that Apple would ever question the central government and their attempt to improve the quality of security for the nation.”

Fox is frustrated by Apple and believes that having information available that would otherwise be undisclosed or inaccessible due to such security features would enable the government to prevent and put a stop to further terrorist situations. He thinks that Apple customers would be understanding of the company’s compliance with the FBI in this situation.

“It would only show they’re more willing to compromise, but also that they’re understanding of the limitations of technology,” Fox said. “Apple needs to figure out what’s best for the general public, not preserving their business model.”

As of now, Apple is still refusing to create a way to breach the screen lock security of their technology. The FBI is now looking at legal means to get Apple to agree with their request. This is a case worth following for all smartphone users at USD because the result could expand or narrow the right to privacy. With the upcoming presidential election, the resolution to this issue and ones like it could soon be in the hands of voters.