Bernie and Hillary both take moderate, in-between stance on Apple vs. FBI issue.
Bernie and Hillary have surprised us all in pushing the same generic stance on the Apple vs. FBI issue that has many people talking about the importance for both national security and personal privacy. Though Hillary is often touted as a moderate and was likely to pick the in-between stance, Bernie, who is usually outspoken and generally talks of being against big government, also pushed the same stance.
The Apple vs. FBI controversy is the issue of encryption and the right to privacy versus the government’s insistence that it gain access to all of our information in order to protect its citizens. Since the development and use of technology has been on the rise, the issue is fairly new, but this is not the first time it has been visited.
In this case, Apple has denied a judge’s order to comply with the FBI in creating a software that allows backdoor access to a cell phone being used in a terrorist investigation. Though it’s understandable that the FBI is frustrated by its failed attempts to unlock the iPhone it has in its possession, Apple states that creating a unique backdoor to the phone would be impossible and that the software, in the wrong hands, could become the end of privacy with iPhone encryption everywhere.
When asked by a town hall host which side Bernie is on, Bernie replied, “Both.” He explained what we already knew, which is that, “I am very fearful in America about Big Brother. And that means not only the federal government getting into your emails or knowing what books you’re taking out of the library, or private corporations knowing everything there is to know about you in terms of your health records, your banking records, your consumer practices.” He also appealed to the fear that lies deep within all of us by saying that he is also fearful of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It was because of this equal fear in both that he claims to be on both sides.
At the same town hall debate, Hillary explained the concerns Apple has and pointed out that other governments could also dangerously gain access to the software. She also said something that is as general and scripted as they come: “As smart as we are, there’s got to be some way on a very specific basis we could try to help get information around crimes and terrorism.” It’s not that Apple and cryptologists everywhere are not smart enough to get information for the government, it’s that there’s no way to do it without putting the privacy of millions in danger.
Both presidential candidates have taken the safe route on this matter, and it’s not really a surprise that they did. In this war between encryption and alleged national safety concerns, there can only be one winner. For now, the battle seems to be in favor of Apple, but future litigation could change all of that. CEO Tim Cook warns that this could be the beginning of a slippery slope. If Apple is forced to comply and provide this software, it’s likely the government would continue to exercise it’s force and ask for more, as would other nations. If that were to happen, our confidence in our privacy and in our personal devices would be lost forever.
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