All of a sudden, the debate on privacy and encryption, typically confined within law school classes, between think tanks or on specialized blogs (such as ours), is making headlines.
Apple, the tech giant, is emerging as new privacy champion ready to fight against the US government, and possibly many other governments in the world in order to protect individual’s data.
It is probably too early to draw conclusions on this debate, the outcome of which will determine the degree of freedom that citizens will enjoy in the future, and the degree of surveillance that governments will have over citizens. The two extreme nightmare scenarios are clear:
- an Orwellian world where individuals record every snippet of their life (including sensitive data such as health data!) and governments have unhindered access and control on such data;
- a world devastated by terrorist groups, who want to destroy modern culture, yet have unconstrained access to encryption and to communication instruments that magnify their terror threats.
We are obviously eager to see what the US federal court will decide on the appeal announced by Apple. However, it is even more interesting to read the various positions on the issue in the debate. This is a list of articles that we have found more thought provoking:
- here is a nice recap of the previous tensions: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/17/inside-the-fbis-encryption-battle-with-apple
- This is Tim Cook’s letter explaining Apple’s view on the court order: http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/
- This article illustrates how Apple’s position developed over time: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/19/technology/how-tim-cook-became-a-bulwark-for-digital-privacy.html?ref=technology
- This article shows how technology companies have become more confrontational: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/technology/apples-stance-highlights-a-more-confrontational-tech-industry.html
- Apple has the full support of Twitter, Google and WhatsApp: http://thehackernews.com/2016/02/encryption-backdoor-apple-iphone.html and is applauded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/02/eff-support-apple-encryption-battle, which always ranked Apple pretty high: https://www.eff.org/who-has-your-back-government-data-requests-2015
- Obama’s stand: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/20/us/politics/in-nod-to-law-enforcement-obama-ends-attempt-to-straddle-privacy-divide.html?ref=technology
- On the hypocrisy of Apple: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/18/
- Pro Apple: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/19/opinion/why-apple-is-right-to-challenge-an-order-to-help-the-fbi.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0
- On encryption: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2016/02/encryption-isnt-at-stake-the-fbi-knows-apple-already-has-the-desired-key/
Enjoy the reading!