Apple won the battle – who will win the privacy war?

By Aoibheann Diver

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Apple had a small victory in their battle for privacy protection, as they are no longer needed for the decryption of a terrorist’s phone.

The FBI said they don’t need Apple to help them unlock an iPhone belonging to a terrorist involved in the San Bernardino attack last December. They revealed yesterday that they have outside help who claim they can unlock the phone without Apple’s assistance.

The case opens a window to a bigger issue on privacy and data protection.

The fear is that if the FBI get access to this phone, it will be easier for them to get data from other phones in the future. If Apple became involved, they would have to create a programme that could be used by the government to get information from hundreds of phones, according to the court filing.

“We believe strongly we have an obligation to help protect your data and your privacy,” Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said from the company’s headquarters. “We owe it to our customers.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the US government should proceed with caution given its potentially negative ramifications for the human rights of people all over the world.

Apple had previously received an order from the FBI to help them decrypt an iPhone that belonged to Syed Farook, who was involved in the mass shooting in California in December 2015. Farook and his wife killed 14 people and injured 22 others.

The government were set to battle the tech giant today regarding access to the phone, however the hearing was postponed last night.

Other big tech companies have backed Apple in the fight for the protection of information. Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter all showed their support for Apple, who would normally be considered their rival.

Cook previously said that helping the FBI to unlock the phone would be “bad for America”.

@aoibheanndiver

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