Privacy versus security is dominating the news this week with the Apple versus FBI driving headlines. However, this issue is not new and companies trying to find the right balance between security and privacy has been going on for decades. Let me start by saying that this is a very important debate with no “right” answer just different approaches based on your political philosophy.
The San Bernardino terrorism angle makes is very emotional but we must be careful to evaluate the whole issue in context, taking into account the long-term consequences. Also before you decide to cast Apple as a hero or a Saint you should keep in mind that Microsoft has been ‘going to bat’ for individual privacy rights for many years.
On a more personal note, this issue has relevance to the trial of Teagan’s killer. We know that Apple devices were a part of Teagan’s homicide investigation and getting access to evidence very likely could have been impacted by passwords and encryption. So do I wish that Government could have simple access to our personal computing devices? The person responsible for the death of my beautiful 8-year-old daughter could benefit and there is nothing I want more than to see justice for Teagan. So it feels strange to say but the answer is not at any cost…we have rule of law that pertains to the physical world and now we must strike the right balance in the digital world.
I don’t think it makes sense for any Government to order a private company to create a product that could lead to a massive privacy risk for the entire population of users (whether that risk in manifested through Government or criminal sources). You can certainly argue to other side and frankly, I do believe that this public discussion needs to continue so it can guide policy and legislative decisions.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ― Benjamin Franklin