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Some brief thoughts on Apple vs the FBI

the beach baller isn’t a news website, therefore I’m not going to bore you to death with the details of the on-going privacy saga that is Apple vs the FBI. Instead, I’m going to assume you know the basic details, but if you don’t, WIRED has a brilliantly uncomplicated breakdown of something which is deemed rather complicated.

But is it complicated?

I really don’t think it is. We now live in a world which is absolutely obsessed with privacy. Every action undertaken on our internet-enabled devices should be treated with extreme caution. Passwords must be different for every website we use and longer than War and Peace (don’t forget at least one special character, an emoji and something from the Wingdings font). Fancy doing a spot of online banking? Best don your ultra-protective privacy suit of armour and keep an eye out for anyone spying over your shoulder. Be scared, suspicious and cautious at all times.

<sigh>

I take my privacy seriously. I’ve had my credit card hacked a couple of times and, although a rather irritating experience, I didn’t feel socially molested by some unknown number thief. My mobile phone contains all sorts of information I hold dear. Contacts, photos, notes and messages from loved ones being perhaps the most important. I wouldn’t fear for my life if it got into the hands of others, though. Sure, I’d feel somewhat looted of my personal stuff, but once the thief realises he’s only got a bunch of dog photos and blog post ideas to use to his advantage, he’d soon move on. As would I. And, regardless, all of that ‘stuff’ (that’s all it is, after all) is backed up elsewhere.

Apple are admirably standing by their belief that, by opening up a back door into a suspected terrorist’s iPhone for the FBI, they’ll be doing the same for anyone clever enough to break in. I get that, I really do. But if that phone contains something pertaining to a future attack and if that something turns out to be a vital piece of intelligence for the good men and women who keep us safe, I’m willing to put part of my privacy on the line in return for its safe retrieval.

We’re quite a careless bunch, us humans. It would only take a root through our rubbish bin, a swipe of the wallet we’ve left haphazardly on the restaurant table or a clever bit of social engineering for someone to gain a key into our finances and identity. None of those options require a degree in software development, and we’ve been guilty of such negligence for years. Why are we suddenly all so prissy about our digital personas?

I love it when a business stands up solidly for its beliefs and ethos, and it is clear Apple isn’t going to back down on this one, but, sometimes, it pays not to be the martyr. I may get a great deal of stick for this, but common sense must, occasionally, prevail. No smartphone is ultra secure. None of our lives can be fully protected from those who are after our money and identities. They’re determined people who will always find a way around any digital barbed wire we erect.

Terrorists, on the other hand, must be stopped at all costs. All costs.

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