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Jason Grumet and Mike Rogers: Apple vs. FBI is a sign of a dangerous divide


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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Apple’s decision to fight a court order to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists involved in the San Bernardino, California, attack last year is just the latest example of the dangerous divide between Washington and Silicon Valley.

The FBI was unable to access the encrypted smartphone to map the terrorist’s connections to ISIS and find any other accomplices in the United States, so the government sought help from the tech giant. While details of this specific phone are not known, the iPhone in general has built-in security features that will erase the phone’s data after a certain number of unsuccessful log-in attempts.

This case highlights how Washington needs the private sector in the fight against terrorism and how the private sector still has to work through questions about the effect to its business when helping the government. We must find a way to bridge this gap so we can protect both our citizens and the economic interests of our technology sector while adhering to our founding principles.

In rejecting the court order, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated, “We have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help,” adding, “but now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create.”