Over the course of the last few weeks the relative quiet of the Apple Campus has suffered the disruption of the nation’s policing authorities seeking court orders compelling Apple to breach the security it has installed on its iPhones. The FBI initiated the primary, but certainly not the only, action by seeking an order from a federal magistrate ordering Apple to write software that would abrogate the security of one particular iPhone that the FBI believes may contain information that could prove helpful to the FBI in learning more about a crime that it has already solved. The iPhone belonged to Siyed Rizwan Farook, the killer who died in the process of a mass shooting in Southern California earlier this year. The FBI already knows who did the shooting. The killer was shot and died. It is his iPhone. This is not about solving the crime. It is about satisfying the curiosity of those who like to theorize about conspiracy. The killings have been labeled as terrorism. For those of you that do not know this, the “terror” label opens many doors otherwise unavailable. The news stories indicate that the FBI hopes that the information contained in the iPhone might lead to others complicit in the crime or might provide insight that could prevent another crime. Certainly you cannot argue with the goals underlying the FBI’s desire to stop terrorism. The problem is, as often occurs, deciding whether the end justifies the means.
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