Should Apple Comply With The FBI?

Here’s a marketing conundrum. Apple Inc. has been asked by federal investigators to held them obtain locked data files from an iPhone used by a mass murderer in the San Bernardino killings back in December. But doesn’t Apple’s refusal simply underscore the company’s amazing protective devices – indeed, Apple has said that its newest iOS software for the iPhone is so secure that even Apple itself can’t unlock a passcode-protected iPhone to decrypt any stored filed.

This court order happened last Tuesday, when a federal magistrate judge ordered Apple to assist the FBI in cracking the encrypted files that were stored in a phone that had been used by terrorist Syed Farook, who, with his wife, murdered 14 people in an attack in San Bernardino. Understandably, the FBI hoped that accessing Farook’s iPhone can assist them in determining whether the terrorist and his wife were aided by accomplices in the USA or abroad.

However, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said that Apple would fight the court order, as he believes that complying with the FBI would essentially create a “backdoor” that eventually would make it easier for criminals to spy on iPhone users, and to steal their most sensitive personal data. Essentially, the FBI is asking Apple to hack its own users. Bad marketing idea.

What do you think? As a Boston marketing consultant, and content marketing strategist, I can understand both sides of the story. I realize that the FBI wants to get to the bottom of this case, and that Apple can assist them in their quest. But I also understand Apple’s hesitancy to comply with the FBI, as it undermines their commitment to user privacy. Many question Apple’s stand on this, however there are others who believe that Apple should cooperate with the FBI, yet fight any other efforts to weaken Smartphone security.

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