Apple is right to uphold privacy

Daily Editorial Board

Apple and the FBI have been engaged in a conflict over the past month about whether Apple should provide the government with tools to access data in the iPhones of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the shooters from the San Bernardino attack last December. Many people believe this dispute’s potential legal precedents could seriously impact our understanding of privacy.
 
 
If the FBI has its way, Apple would create technology that opens a back door into its encryption and security measures, undercutting the privacy that Apple guarantees its users.
 
 
Historically, our society has understood the right to privacy as the “right to be left alone.” In the past, violators were often human beings. 
 
 
In the computer age, however, our understanding of privacy has to adapt. It’s harder to attribute blame when the one who violates your privacy is an algorithm, but the fact of the violation remains the same. 
 
 
When it comes to data in the electronic domain, our increasing willingness to tolerate disclosure represents a devaluing of our personal information. 
 
 
This is what the Apple vs. FBI case is really about. We store all kinds of information — our bank accounts, email passwords and schedules — in our phones. Adding a back door into Apple’s firmware would make it easier to abuse our right to privacy. 
 
 
As technology changes, we should refuse to be complacent about our continual right to privacy. To that end, we must value our data and fight to keep it secure.