CHICAGO -- Should the government be able to force Apple to break into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists?
A federal judge ordered to company to do it, but the CEO of Apple is going to fight it, and he’s encouraging a national discussion about how we weigh privacy and security.
We thought we’d have that discussion with iphone users here in chicago, and as you can imagine there’s a range of opinion.
Lucy McDonald uses her iPhone for all kinds of personal things, but she says if security were at stake, she’d want law enforcement officials to be able to access the information.
“Honestly there’s nothing really that secret that you should keep on your iPhone, and if you are, like, maybe don’t keep it there,” McDonald said.
But outside the apple store on Michigan Avenue, Sean Ewell is a bit more suspicious of the government,
“Just make sure that it’s something that is viable to security agencies, but also you’re not getting the text to my wife,” Ewell said.
It’s a discussion Apple CEO Tim Cook is encouraging the nation to have as his company is being asked to help break into an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Farook, shot and killed 14 people in December. The couple later died in a shootout with police.
An iPhone was recovered from their SUV in the aftermath of the attack, but the phone is locked and the FBI wants Apple to provide the key software that will allow them to disable the security feature known as encryption.
Ed Yohnka of the Illinois ACLU says the decision has wide-ranging implications for all iPhone users.
“The encryption exists not to protect terrorists, but to protect privacy,” Yohnka said. “We all hear about identity theft and hacking, and that software really exists to protect against that.”
He added, “Once Apple turns over, or if they’re forced to turn over this software to unlock their encryption, the government then has that for every Apple device.”
The iPhone in this case was not the property of Farook. It belonged to his employer, Bernardino County. The county consented to the search.
In an open letter posted on the Apple website, Cook said:
"The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control."