Boycott Apple

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– Navpreet Singh, Jaipur

When you are told to boycott the most coveted phone for youth, an iPhone, you shockingly look for reasons. And you find that US presidential candidate, Donald Trump has asked the public to do so. He wanted Apple to carry out a security circumvention to help the FBI unlock data from the iPhone of a terrorist shooter accused of mass killings in San Bernardino last December.

But Apple refused to comply to the demands. As one of the largest tech companies, it upholds its value of data security and privacy of customers which it does not want to falter in any case. Even when US government sought a court order to force the firm. It took a stand against the government with a letter of opposition in which it says it has pledged to always safeguard the precious customer data by encryption. Having great respect for FBI and being equally sympathising with the victims of that terror attacks and condemning the accused, it has helped FBI with data that was in its possession and advises that were in its disposal but this recent request of backdoor to customers’ data is something they simply do not have, and something they consider too dangerous to create. Such a software, if created, would have the potential to unlock any iPhone, in wrong hands. The government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control. Its leak is a serious threat to all the iPhones currently being used and ones to be launched further. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks. It could spread, and destroy like wildfire.

The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make the users less safe. It would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. The government is using All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority. If it’s using this Act to unlock your iPhone today, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data tomorrow. It would then demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.

It is really a troubling situation and that is why, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have taken Apple’s stance, in a rather implicit issue of statements.

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