Should Apple help the FBI unlock iPhones that may have information relating to terrorist activities or other criminal activities?

Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent-Absolutely they should! For several reasons they should.

Let’s look at this from a legal standpoint. Your phone, text messages, emails, everything is discoverable evidence in a criminal case. So, let’s play this out. Apple decides NOT to unlock this phone. They basically are opening the flood gates to criminals, terrorists, etc. and saying your phone can’t be used against you as evidence. This is VERY detrimental to the criminal justice system. If it was my family involved in these attacks I’d want to know what was on that phone, who they were talking to, what they were talking about. I think the FBI has every right to the information on that phone.

Second point here is that if you think you aren’t being tracked as it is you’re sadly mistaken. I believe one of my other colleagues spoke about the fact that you google bookcases or search Amazon, and boom the next day you are seeing ads for bookcases. Now, what’s being done with this information? Probably nothing except showing you ads. But if you commit a crime what you searched for three days ago might just be pertinent information and I don’t think anyone can argue that. I’d gladly give up my privacy if it would help prevent future terrorist attacks.

Also, Apple has helped before. Yeah it’s slightly different now being that they re-wrote the OS to be “un-breakable”. But whose fault is that?! How on earth would you think that’s a good idea? They obviously weren’t thinking ahead on this at all. They didn’t consider the legal repercussions. They didn’t think of any circumstance where law enforcement or the like would need to get into a phone? Come on now. Apple should be smarter than that.

Just to be clear here. We aren’t talking about speculation on who these people were. This is NOT a case of maybe they did maybe they didn’t. This is a case of KNOWN, PROVEN terrorists. Period.

Finally, all the supporters of privacy need to play this one out to fruition. Let’s say Apple sticks to their guns and refuses to hack that phone. Well, the FBI isn’t going to take that laying down. The FBI is going to find the dirtiest, nastiest, “best” hackers out there to get into that phone. It’s going to happen. They will get into that phone. So guess what, now the FBI has the ability to get into ALL of the phones. Wouldn’t you rather Apple take that phone, open it up, and keep that technology to themselves? Instead, Apple is going to force the government to create the hack themselves and then they have it to use whenever and however they want.

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-As technology has grown rapidly and become more sophisticated over the past 30 years, the criminal element in this world has seized the opportunity to utilize technology for nefarious purposes.

Law enforcement agencies administered by government lag behind as usual in the use of technology and are in a never-ending battle to combat increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals. While I applaud their attempts to fight these battles, one of the unintended consequences of increased technology is misuse of data gathering and storage. It is a double-edged sword that law enforcement can use data for two purposes—to aid in the apprehension of criminals and terrorists, and to compile massive quantities of potentially useful (to them) or harmful (to individual citizens) data.

Because citizens of the United States are presumed innocent until proven guilty, unwarranted data collection in any form is a breach of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which pertains to unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement personnel. Somehow, government agencies have used the excuse that modern technology is exempt from Fourth Amendment restrictions, which therefore justifies using technology outside of the restrictions of the Constitution in order to assist with apprehending criminals and terrorists.

However, any reasonably intelligent person must realize that any sort of unreasonable seizure of possessions or data—whether it be letters or documents printed or written on paper, or electronic data such as emails, voicemails, text messages, or phone call records—should be treated exactly the same in the context of the Fourth Amendment.

The Apple situation seems to be another attempt by the Feds to skirt the letter of the law. By demanding access to one suspected terrorist’s iPhone data, the FBI will set a precedent that will become easier to justify in the future. There is a slippery slope of obtaining phone data from known terrorists that progresses to obtaining data from suspected terrorists, then obtaining data from possibly suspected terrorists, to collecting data on entire groups of people such as members of clubs, religious groups, fringe political parties, or radical think tanks, just because they don’t agree with government policies.

Once we allow government to start that downward slide, no individual will be safe from having their Constitutional rights violated. Unless we insist that situations like the Apple-FBI conflict not be allowed, our civil liberties will erode to the point where we have none.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Apple should only help the FBI unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone if the information on the phone is taken by an Apple technician/engineer and the FBI is not supplied with any coding or unlocking details as to how the information was extracted. From what Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook has said, the opening of the San Bernardino gunman’s phone would “threaten data security for millions of law-abiding citizens and everyone’s civil liberties.”

Apple is very concerned about what happened in San Bernardino, and Cook has said that he wants to work with authorities in the case to find justice for those who lost their lives in the attack, but how far he will allow the government, Congress, and the courts to go is not certain. With the FBI pretty much demanding that the information on the phone be given to their investigators, and a court order now part of the mix, it is hard to say whether Apple will defy the court order. Time is running short with the federal court order deadline.

It seems that one of the few ways to extract the information from the phone is to not allow the processes involved to set legal precedents for unlocking other phones, particularly phones of innocent citizens. As the FBI has reported, they simply want to use a legal search warrant to try to figure out the terrorist’s passcode without tearing the phone to pieces. As FBI Director James Comey has said in a recent statement, “We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.” Apple is obviously not currently in agreement with such a proposition, but it may be the only legal way to capture the information to thwart future domestic and international acts of terrorism.

If Apple is unwilling to comply with the FBI and the federal court, they will most likely be ordered to unlock the phone and turn over the information to the authorities. Apple did say that its engineers would do their best to protect the technology necessary to perform the task, but also indicated that the company would be open to attacks from hackers and cybercriminals from every direction. So, their willingness to participate will be forced at best.

Part of the problem with the terrorist’s phone is that the county government‘s (San Bernardino County) ownership of the iPhone did not call for installation of a feature that would have given the FBI immediate access to the phone for unlocking. There was no countywide policy on this proven- to- work feature. The county had the technology through MobileIron Inc. for mobile device management but never installed it on any of the phones of its inspectors and, of course, it was not installed on the terrorist’s iPhone, and he was a county health inspector for San Bernardino County. The county has a responsibility to the community and to the victims whose lives were taken by their late employee to press for the rights of the victims. Indirectly, Apple has responsibility as well, as they obviously supplied the phones to the county.

Apple is probably going to be forced to comply with the FBI and the federal court simply out of protection for Americans from future San Bernardino’s, which will mean digging out and unlocking any memory information on that iPhone. If Apple is adamant about protecting themselves and their phone customers, the company should only release the information through agreed upon terms before turning anything over to the authorities, or they need to find other avenues to seek out phone record information on the terrorist without compromising their technology. Any decoding information should be immediately destroyed once the phone is sourced for information. A binding agreement must be quickly established with the FBI and other security agencies involved for release of the information in a rights protected, safe and guarded manner.

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-In a recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino of last year December, many people were affected lethally. Subsequent to the attack, the FBI requested information from Apple due to the terrorists involved. With that, Apple concurred and provided the FBI with intel. In a recent letter to their customers, Apple made it quite clear that they’ve went to great lengths in helping the FBI solve this case. However, at this time around, the FBI is requesting something that Apple cannot give nor have. The FBI is requesting that Apple create a backdoor into the Smartphone so that they can have access to information concerning the case. I believe that Apple has no love for terrorism. However, what is being asked of them is beyond them and could affect their relationship with their customers. This could eventually destroy their business. In fact, giving the FBI what they’ve requested is too much.

In the wrong hands, a software created, providing a backdoor to the iPhone, could potentially do much harm, as anyone in possession of this device, could unlock any iPhone, whereby opening a can of worms. While the FBI argued that this backdoor creation would be strictly used for the San Bernardino case, that is not assured. Such control is not guaranteed.

If Apple creates this device, they’ll be providing a ‘master key’ that can be used over and over, unlocking millions of locks. This could be devastating for banks, restaurants, stores and other business locations. Surely, this is not a simple matter but one that should be dealt with scrutiny and seriousness.

I believe that Apple should stand their ground. They should not hack their customers, opening their data to scrutiny and attack. This sort of information is powerful! Delicate information could create tremendous problems, even those the FBI cannot fix. Apple should not create a backdoor to their device.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-All the dithering and chest thumping over the government’s request (“request” in this case meaning “a carefully worded message wrapped around a brick”) to unlock the San Bernardino terrorists’ iPhone is sound and fury signifying nothing, but it does reveal something disturbing about the public’s perception of government.

If this case had come up in the ‘50s, Apple wouldn’t have stood a chance against the wave of public outcry that would have greeted its refusal to help Uncle Sam. However, the intervening decades between then and now have provided ample fodder for the American public to doubt its government’s motives and agenda on just about every issue. Between partisan power grabs and good old-fashioned nefarious conduct, the track record for governmental honesty over the last half-century has not exactly been sterling.

However, as Johnny Rico famously said in that paragon of movie excellence, “Starship Troopers,” “We’re talking about the species, people.” The kind of lunatic mindset that allowed San Bernardino to happen is proliferating, fed by social media, economic unrest and religious mania worldwide. Unless the information pipelines are tapped and/or plugged, we will continue to see incidents and continue to zip innocent civilians into body bags by the score.

Quite simply, if Apple doesn’t deactivate the failsafe and allow the feds to get into the phone, someone else will eventually figure out how to make that happen. Apple and its backers scream that giving the government the keys to the phone will allow Uncle Sam to loot our texts and emails willy-nilly. Not only is that not true, but the fact that the phone makers are floating such a specious argument makes me highly suspect of their motives. Remember that Apple is under fire for moving billions of dollars’ worth of business offshore and ducking millions in taxes. One wonders if there is a quid pro quo at work behind the scenes, here. Could Jobs’ Boys be perpetrating something so pedestrian? With that kind of money at stake, it would certainly make sense.

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