When I first heard about the government’s dispute with Apple related to the iPhone of the San Bernardino killer, my immediate instinct was to take the government’s side. I am glad I took the time to learn more about the position being taken by Apple and the government, and while no solution is without its shortcomings, I support Apple in this dispute.
I do not doubt the government has noble intentions as strong encryption technologies hamper its efforts to provide the security to its citizens. But the noble intentions alone do not justify the means used to accomplish an objective. If Apple concedes, it will not only be a victory for the government but also the enemies of America who have not always been fond of the vast number of rights enjoyed by Americans including the right to privacy and free speech.
I also oppose the government in this dispute because it is not that the government has run out of options but it is simply taking a short cut. Instead of increasing its efforts to hire the best cyber security efforts which may, of course, require offering more attractive compensation packages, the government simply wants the private tech companies to donate free manpower. Moreover, this will set a wrong precedent and would put Apple and other technology companies at a disadvantage against foreign governments who may also make similar demands. I am also astonished the government wants Apple to reduce the security of its operating system rather than enhancing it. This is, particularly, puzzling for me because cyber war has often been mentioned by the U.S. Government as one of the greatest security threats in the 21st century.
I might have been prompted to take the government’s side if it could truly demonstrate it has no other option. But the government’s position does make me wonder whether it is simply using the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone as an excuse to gain additional leverage against the technology companies. In fact, cyber security expert John McAfee has offered to unlock the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone for free if the government drop its case against Apple. The government should have no excuse not to accept McAfee’s offer if its request to Apple was entirely motivated by the investigation of San Bernardino tragedy.