Apple, Privacy, and Doing the Right Thing

Steve Jobs from a South Park episodeHere’s the deal. A Federal court has ordered Apple to comply with the FBI’s request to help break into the encrypted iPhone of one of the dead shooters from the San Bernadino shooting in California back in December. Apple publically refused in a well written letter that defended the importance of privacy and was signed by Tim Cook.

Who’s right?

It wouldn’t take a genius to determine that I might instinctively side with privacy and Tim Cook. I’m a big believer of ethical behavior in the tech world, the importance of firms protecting consumers from their own ignorance, and am proud that Tim Cook is a fellow Auburn grad.

But it isn’t that simple.

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Privacy in Public, Gone Forever?

Central Park, Memorial DayThis post could readily talk about the disappearance of privacy in private. From Nixon to Sterling, private conversations have been recorded and shared for years. Whenever you have a private conversation, you are trusting the people you are talking with to not share it with others beyond any implied understanding.

Being out in public has traditionally offered up more privacy. Any spy movie you watch throws in at least one scene base upon that fact. They always meet in a public spot where there are a ton of witnesses but nobody who will notice two people talking. Why would they? There are people having conversations everywhere.

All that is changing.

I am not talking a police state or about all the cameras that are going up everywhere for public safety. There are a lot of siloed systems inside individual establishments that are not linked to a broader network. The world of 1984 is not here yet, no matter what television tells us.

I’m talking about social media.

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