Apple vs. FBI one year later: Still stuck in limbo
(CNET | Feb. 15, 2017) It’s been a year since Apple fought the FBI over data privacy, and we’ve barely heard a peep from either side on the issue. So everything’s fine, right?
The FBI’s attempt to force Apple to unlock an iPhone used by a terrorist set up a grand legal battle between security and privacy. On one side is a massive tech company envisioning a future similar to the setting in George Orwell’s “1984” (which, coincidentally, has become a bestseller again after President Donald Trump’s inauguration). On the other is the world’s most powerful government dangling the threat of a terrorist attack if it can’t get access to vital information.
The stakes were sky-high. Cybersecurity experts said the dispute could have far-reaching implications for everything from how private our personal photos are to how tech companies operate in other countries.
Both were poised to head to court, and then a funny thing happened: The FBI suddenly said it didn’t need Apple’s help, and the whole affair just faded away.
But that doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory.
Because the battle never went to court, we never got an answer on whether security or privacy takes priority. A year later, the only thing that’s clear from the public battle is just how hazy everything still is. And the conflict isn’t going away anytime soon, especially if there’s another terrorist attack.
“This past year was kind of a missed opportunity to work this thing out,” said William Snyder, visiting assistant professor of law at the Syracuse University College of Law. “It hasn’t gone away. The question is whether you deal with it now when things are calm or later when the stakes are high” …
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