The Delicate Balance Between Customer Privacy And National Security
We’ve seen this song and dance before in many different situations. Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has ordered Apple to assist with unlocking the iPhone owned by the San Bernardino shooter. The FBI needs information on that phone to complete their investigation and look into terrorist ties. This is a slippery slope and Apple, in the name of consumer privacy, doesn’t want to open this Pandora’s box.
As discussed in “Tim Cook Opposes Court Order That Apple Must Help FBI Unlock iPhone,” posted by Michael Grothaus on FastCompany.com, the FBI wants to search the shooter’s phone for possible clues related to the tragic case. The order, made by a U.S. Federal judge to Apple, requests “reasonable technical assistance” to recover data, specifically bypassing the auto-erase function if too many incorrect passcodes are used to unlock the device. Apple has opposed the order through legal channels and posting an open letter to the public. In the letter, CEO Tim Cook indicates why they cannot comply with this order. First, Apple has used encryption to protect the personal data of devices users. The data that could be on anyone’s smartphone can include personal information, like emails and photos, but also financial, medical, and locational information. To protect users’ private data, Apple has created increasingly tight encryption that can’t be accessed by Apple. Apple can’t access the data on a phone if the user has lost their own passcode and they can’t access the data as ordered by the FBI or any other security agency.
Secondly, and most importantly, Cook indicates that Apple would have to create a specific operating system for the FBI, with a backdoor, to open this specific device. Cook suggests that creating this backdoor is ‘too dangerous’ as it can fall into the wrong hands and asks the public to consider the implications of this court order.
The public expects transparency and trust when working with various government agencies. While this case may take some time to decide, public offices can today show accountability to constituents by replacing legacy systems with modern technology, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Contact AKA Enterprise Solutions about using ERP and CRM to bridge the gap between citizens and public offices.