Apple and the FBI are in the news:
The furor stemmed from a judge’s order this week requiring Apple to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation circumvent a passcode protection system on the phone used by Mr. Farook. Apple has said it will fight the order, setting the stage for what both sides expect will be a precedent-setting case in an era of ubiquitous smartphones.
It is one of those lightening rod issues for conservatives with Kevin Williamson on Apple’s side and Charles Krauthammer and Tom Cotton on the FBI’s side. All three (“deplorable”, “dead terrorist privacy”, and “hurray for Tim Cook”) are in take no prisoners mode. Let us consider an alternative: Apple is doing the right thing but they should accept a solution eventually. Apple’s position is similar to a tax preparer when the IRS requests information about a tax payer. The tax preparer has a responsibility to give his client the right to fight the subpoena. In Apple versus the FBI, it is different but similar. It is different because it is not clear the accused is Apple’s client. It is similar because we the people want an outsider, in this case the court, keeping tabs on the federal agency.
We are not always fans of court proceedings but it this case we are an enthusiastic supporter. Apple has a responsibility to fight the order but at some point it needs to accept some court’s guidance.