by Sam Hieb
In this USA Today op-ed, Sen. Richard Burr says Apple should comply with the court order regarding the San Bernadino terrorists’ iPhone:
The iPhone precedent in San Bernardino is important for our courts and our ability to protect innocent Americans and enforce the rule of law. While the national security implications of this situation are significant, the outcome of this dispute will also have a drastic effect on criminal cases across the country. The newest Apple operating systems allow device access only to users — even Apple itself can’t get in. Murderers, pedophiles, drug dealers and the others are already using this technology to cover their tracks.
Over the past few decades, Apple has often benefited from the protections of U.S. law. It has sought the protection of those laws when it is the victim of a crime. However, in this instance, the company seems to run from those same laws. Apple’s acceptance of the law appears to be uneven; this is not the first time the company has sought to avoid compliance with a lawful court order. In Apple’s court filings in a recent New York criminal case, it specifically stated that it was refusing to cooperate with the government and comply with a court order because doing so would cause reputational damage that would tarnish its brand: “Forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand.”
This is indeed a complex issue and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I’m not trying to shill for Rush Limbaugh here—second post this week and I promise to back off—but anyone listens to his show knows he is a technophile and as a result took particular issue. Limbaugh breaks down the issue pretty and far as I can tell he’s siding with Apple on this one.