This Apple Thing

This whole Apple thing has the country reeling, once again introducing a dilemma that can divide and polarize our opinions.

Most people haven’t been affected by it (and simply don’t care), which I can totally understand. It’s easy to go about life and not concern ourselves with things so far away in proximity and principle.

But for those who DO care, this might end up being a bigger deal than we think. Sure, the FBI is touting that this is one isolated instance where one isolated phone will be cracked in an isolated environment – but as Apple has warned – once the cat is out of the bag, its out. And have you tried catching one of those things? They’re super hard to keep track of, and I can’t imagine the scratches and scars we’d get trying to stuff it back in the bag if we actually did end up catching it. Ugh, cats.

Metaphors aside, the point is this: once this crack is created, its created. Maybe they could lock it up in some super secret warehouse in MiddleOfNowhere, Nevada – but it still exists. That’s essentially what Apple is trying to avoid. So we’re presented with a pretty tough dilemma: what do we value more, information that could possibly lead to further conspirators? Or the informational integrity of a device used by hundreds of millions?

I don’t ask that in a biased way. In fact, I’m serious. It IS important to catch these (insert expletive here) that are bent on harming innocent civilians. It sickens me that human beings can do things like that to one another. BUT…is creating such an enormous hole worth it to catch what might be one or two people? Or maybe even nothing? That’s the worst scenario I suppose. The possibility that we force Apple to compromise their security so we can hack into a phone that has nothing more to offer than some pictures of Mohammed and Allah with a sprinkle of nudes (now wouldn’t that be a story).

But seriously, do they really expect to find the whisperings of another master plan that may yet be to come? I suppose we shall find out soon enough, once they decide if they’re going to bully Apple into submission or not. But if they do – I don’t expect that the public will take it lightly.

It seems like sort of a Hail Mary – if they force Apple to comply and find nothing, then everyone will be pissed and say “you violated our liberties!”. But if they force them to comply and they DO find something big…then people will probably be like “well yeah obviously they should have searched the phone, they did the right thing.”.

In other words, its a gamble on public opinion. If you look at it from their point of view, there is, in fact, a lot at stake. On the one hand you have the possibility of uncovering a terrorist cell or gaining more intel on terrorist activity – always valuable. On the other hand, you have the liberties of human beings to consider and whether or not you want to create a mechanism that might put us at risk of compromising our information. But as the adage goes: why worry if there’s nothing to hide?

Personally I say screw that adage. Privacy is something we should all have the liberty to enjoy. I wouldn’t want some random person hacking into my phone, whether I have incriminating content or not. Its the principle. What’s mine is mine, and I made it that way for a reason.

So that’s how I see it. Truthfully, I don’t know where I stand. I’m all for national security – but I’m also all for human liberty. This dance is quite a fine line between the two. Let’s see how it plays out.

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