The question as to what extent should governments have power in our world today has never become more significant with the case between the Apple v.s. FBI.
Such question proved to be almost trivial in the past when the governments of the Great Powers of the World Wars faced no difficulty in forcing production towards military aims.
Yet today, with the occurrence of the War on Terrorism, this seat of power is facing a new battle between the two – the government and the company.
On the 29th of March, a sudden report announced that the US government had access to the iPhone of the shooter Syed Farook without the help of Apple.
Jeff John Robers (2016) highlights that the short time span of this case raises the inference that it was not, as it seems to be on the surface, to be about accessing the iPhone, but more about ‘setting a precedent’.
The Department of Justice, as he states, used it as a method of emphasizing the importance of Apple to weaken iPhone’s encryption in the name of national security.
In relation to the Fourth Amendment, it is stated that the government has a right to search, though it does not mention whether third parties can be conscripted to aid the government.
The vagueness of the law has led Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, to stress that ‘a law should be passed to make it clear without it being done court by court…’.
Nevertheless, before reaching such ‘clear’ law, it is evident from this case that frequent trends of the same case will proceed, and perhaps even facilitate government access as predicted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.
Identifying the gainer in this matter is not the main debate, but it is who – in the upcoming years – shall win the ultimate power of holding ‘private information’.