Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What Price Privacy? #313

I have been reading with some interest about Apple's refusal to cooperate with the FBI - Adrian Weckler has a great article in today's Irish Independent "Get your paws off our iPhones, Cook tells world's cops" where he sums up the situation nicely. The FBI is obviously concerned with national security in America - they had "captured the iPhone of one of the terrorists responsible for a lethal gun attack in California's San Bernardino last December" and wanted Apple to change the security software to make it easier for the FBI to hack phones. Tim Cook of Apple responded that the "implications of the government's demands are chilling". Whose side am I on?
Image source: OnlineShopForMe.com.

Naturally, I want to live in an environment safe from terrorists (and other criminals too). If I thought that intelligence from a terrorist gobshite's phone could have prevented 9/11 or the recent Paris attacks I would be all for it and land on the side of the "greater good". If it saved only one life - I would still support the FBI. That life could be mine or one of my family's. 

But what about privacy? Do I want unknown FBI agents hacking into my iPhone - well I don't. But I can't have it both ways. I would be in favour of the authorities obtaining a court order to hack into certain individual's phones if there is evidence of suspicious activity - just like a search warrant. But crooks and terrorists aren't dumb people and I'm sure they'll figure a way to get around any new security checks. Terrorist like IS can rot in jail and I don't care what it takes to get them there. But for people in civilized societies, privacy is important and should not be up for grabs for unlimited monitoring in the interest of national security. We have laws with ways and means of bringing criminals to justice - we must use and stand by these. Otherwise the terrorists win.

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