There seems to be some question about Apple refusing access to a single phone. First of all, let’s be clear. The failure is that of San Bernadino County. They own a device, the phone, which might contain information useful for a federal investigation. They can’t get into their own phone. Consider that the phone is like a safe. San Bernadino County bought a safe, and they let their employee take it home. The employee changed the password. Now the employee is dead, and they want access to the safe. Now, if I had lost the combination to a safe, I’d hire a safe cracker. I would not blame the safe company for building a good safe. Furthermore, if the FBI wanted access to the property of San Bernadino County then they’d be ordering San Bernadino County to unlock the phone. Then the owner of the property, San Bernadino County, could hire a hardware hacker to break into the phone.
But instead of going after a single phone, the federal government has ordered a manufacturer to subvert the security of their product. Again, if they wanted access to a single phone they’d hire an expert to break in. If this were to happen in China, I’d expect the government to command its citizens to do what it says. Here in the U.S. I don’t understand how the government can order someone in this way.
The terrorists hate us because we treat people as individuals. We have gender, racial and other equality written into our laws. They consider women to be property. We educate all children, boys and girls. They kill girls who try to go do school. We encourage freedom of speech. They kill those who speak out against the government. We have freedom. They do not. They want us to become a place where people fear the government. We need to be better than that.
There are other reasons that the government should not break the encryption of iPhones, but that’s a topic for another post.