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Monday Morning Michelle: Should Apple help in the fight against terror?


March 2, 2016

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Dear Michelle,

I am very concerned about national security and I am wondering if you think tech companies, such as Apple, should be permitted to create “warrant-free spaces” that allow terrorists to have protection?

The right to privacy is one that seems to be slowly eroding.  In my opinion, it’s quite scary that a person’s personal information is so readily available.  Yet, when it comes to national security I am pretty apt to say that any company that can help in the fight against terror do so not because it is compelled by a court order but because it believes it has an ethical responsibility.  With regard to the recent dispute between Apple and the FBI, I respect Apple believes it has a responsibility to its customers to protect their privacy, however, what about the responsibility to the United States and other countries to protect us all from terrorists who aim to destroy what we hold so sacred?

From what I understand, the Justice Department has been accused of “overreaching its authority and undermining both privacy and cyber-scurity” because it had sought to have Apple required to dismantle the feature that would erase the data on a known terrorist’s phone if more than ten attempts are made to break into the phone using the wrong passcode.  While legislators and the FBI discuss the issues at hand, I’m wondering what a court order was even necessary.  Why on earth would Apple not want to help in a way that, when viewed from a utilitarian perspective, would not aid in the fight against terror. It’s not as though there is no probable cause here.  We’re talking about a known terrorist who was responsible for taking the lives of several innocent people.

How many times have we all watched the popular television show, Law & Order, and seen where the police go to a judge and spell out the reasons why a warrant should be issued because there is probable cause about an individual’s behavior?

As far as I am concerned, not only should Apple want to help the FBI to ward off terrorism acts against the United States, but it has a moral duty to help. Not only do I think that Apple should have to comply, I think it should do so not because it is forced, but because it respected the victims and their families.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com