All the sources I used were current.

Social Inquiry

There was a devastating event, December 2, where a terrorist attack at San Bernardino resulted in the death of 14 people and 22 severely injured. The FBI reacted with several investigations, and found out through telephonic connections that one of the terrorists, Rizwan Farook had ownership of an IPhone 5. In order for further investigations to occur the FBI AND the Government requested The Apple Company to hacks the terrorist’s device. However on February 16, 2016, Apple CEO denied the request and since many controversial arguments have risen.  Before diving deeper into the topic, I could not find a standpoint and a side due to take due to the lack of information. A few questions I had that helped me understand this topic more were

  1. What exactly occurred during the San Bernardino Shooting? How can this information help me develop a better stand point on this issue?
  2. What were Apple’s’ reasons against the hacking?
  3. What were the pros and cons of Apple not hacking the device?
  4. Why did other companies such as Google support Apple CEO’s decisions?

Significance

As inferred from the passage above, this topic should be approached with a serious mindset. The Apple Company is one of the biggest technology corporations in the world. With the world constantly changing and the demand for faster and better technology increases, it is important that Apple can keep up with this. This decision could have greatly impacted the development and the future for Apple Company. The only way a company can grow, is if the audience grow. If the audience is not impressed by any value the company holds, he or she can leave freely. If Apple made the wrong decision, and put all the Apple users’ security and privacy in such a vulnerable state, it is obvious that many would lose trust in the company.

In addition to that, if Apple chose to help the FBI’s investigation, this would result in the revenge of many saddened Americans. It could help the government and the FBI to react responsibly to other terrorist attacks. This could potentially lead to the decrease in terrorist attacks since many financially strong companies are assisting the FBI.

This issue also impacts me as a student. As a student who has been engaged with the Apple community since grade 5, I find that if Apple a made poor decision which put my privacy and security at risk, I would have stopped trusting their products. It is also important to note that Apple devices are also commonly used in school.

Evidence

The FBI has conducted several investigations to seek more information about the two shooters at San Bernardino. Even though the FBI took careful measures to find as much information as they can, there are still many mysteries and unsolved clues about this case.

The area which the FBI believe the attackers traveled .

Authorities have figured out only a portion of what happened between the four hours of the shooting and the police gun battle. It is critical that the FBI knows exactly what happened during that four hour break because it can lead to information about the two shooters if they went to a home, a business or made contact with any person. With this information the FBI could track down future potential terrorists. There is a period of time approximately 2 hours after the shooting that the FBI do not have information of where the couple went .What the FBI wants to know, is what exactly happened during the 18 minutes.

A picture of the couple involved in the shooting.

Even with the help of surveillance cameras, witnesses and many other confidential resource,s authorities could not find out information on that 18 minute gap. About 45 minutes after the shooting the couple went to Lake Seccombe where divers searched for hours on end and found no evidence in the waters. An hour after the visit to the Lake, the couple disappeared from 12:59pm – 1:17pm, the clueless part of the investigation where they asked Apple for assistance.

Continuity and Change

There is no reason the FBI found why the shooting actually occurred. The shooter Farook, had no connections to other people in the community or Apple. However there is a reason to why Apple denied the hacking of their own device. Apple CEO stated that hacking their own device would be “Bad for America”.

“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe,” The Apple Letter read. In addition to that “no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack.”

Tim Cook states that “they would be fighting a court order to hack an iPhone as part of the San Bernardino terror investigation”.

This is indeed true. If Apple creates a tool that can be used to hacks its own device, it is basically creating a master key to all the information of Apple users. Once something is created, it is extremely difficult to contain that tool. If this tool gets into the hands of a terrorist, or basically anyone with bad intentions, it would severely threaten the security of Apple. It is clearly evident that Apple does not want to expose their customers to greater risks. It is also true that Apple spent huge amounts of money increasing the safety and security of their devices, it would be pointless to spend more money to weaken their security and potentially destroy their progress.

Perspective

While I was researching this topic it is important that I also researched many other perspectives. These includes The Apple Company, The FBI, Terrorists, and the Apple Community.

The Apple Company’s value was that they didn’t want to risk their own development as a company. If they helped the FBI, they could have potentially helped the tracking of other terrorists and connections, but if they did it would severely hinder their development. As a company, they cannot risk something like this.

The FBI’s perspective on this was that they wanted to catch the terrorists. If they hacked Apple’s devices it would not hinder their own development and would actually help their progress and development. They had support from the government and all they needed was the help of Apple.

The Terrorists may take advantage of this issue. If Apple does not seem to want to help investigations, they may use their products as a bypass to the FBI. The terrorists can use Apple products safety because they now that Apple cannot and will not hack their devices.

The Apple community is also a big part of this issue. If Apple were to help hack their device, the Apple community would respond in a negative way. Not only is this exposing their privacy to other unwanted people, but it is also degrading the trust they have with Apple.

Ethical Judgments

 If I take a look at this issue from Apple’s perspective, I can definitely see the benefits of their decision. It may hinder the investigation and the performance of the FBI, but it will definitely not hinder their own progress. Apple made the choice not only for the better of the customers, but for the better of the Company and the future. They effectively weighed the pros and cons of this issue and found that risking the privacy and security of their own devices could become a huge risk for anyone with an iPhone. It was a tough decision to make, but seeing that Google and many other huge technology companies are siding with Apple it seems like the better decision. Overall I would have to side with Apple.

I can also take a look at this perspective from the FBI’s perspective. The FBI definitely do not have any downsides if Apple hacked their own device. It actually will help them progress into their investigation and help prevent further damage. The FBI also got the support of the government so it is also really frustrating seeing that they are only one move away from actually clearing up the confusion and ending the case of the San Bernardino Case. If the FBI does not get assistance from Apple, they should still try to solve the case. Instead of giving up maybe find new ways to hack the device in a safer manner.

In the end, I believe that something should still be done. The FBI could team up with corporations to make a safer way of hacking devices. The FBI also have many staff who have been hacking professionally and can use this as an advantage to future investigations. Terrorist Attacks are extremely saddening and horrific, and I can understand that people want things to be set right, but if that includes risking innocent people on a global level things should be considered accurately before a legal move is made.