9th Reading Forum

Apple vs. The United States Government

Please respond to the article as a reply to this discussion. Your response is due by class time on Thursday, March 10.

Below are the prompts to help build your response:

How important to you is your data stored in your devices and your privacy online?

How do you feel about Apple's refusal to give the FBI entry into the shooter's phone?

Some say that when the government uses the threat of terrorism as reason to limit the privacy of its citizens, then terrorism has already been successful. How do you respond to this claim?

As always, to earn credit your response must contain the following:

1) A direct quotation from the article as evidence for a claim you are making, and

2) A direct reference (by name) to someone else's response, either in agreement or disagreement with one of their claims.


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  • Privacy is something that many care about, and should be something that people respect. In this world where everything you do ends up on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else, having a private place is very important. When you were a kid, you probably had a place where you could hide to and play, like a treehouse or something. Our phones are like our very own special, pocket-sized treehouse, at least to some people.

    I understand and fully support Apple’s decision to keep the shooter’s information private. We all want our information private, so they should keep his information private, even if he’s dead and a criminal. You need to put yourself in the killer’s shoes, except alive. You wouldn’t want the government to look in your phone. You want your privacy and that is what Apple is doing for the criminal.

    I see from the other comments that I am in the minority with this thought. Ashley said “I feel like Apple is right about not giving up a ‘backdoor’ to the IPhone. If they did a lot of people would feel scared and they might worry about that happening to them (I know I would).” and this is a large reason for why I feel Apple is in the right.
  • It’s very important to me to keep my information safe where no one can see nor use it. And I wouldn’t want anyone to go through my personal things and belongings on my ipod or phone. I think it’s an invasion of privacy that they don’t need to know.
    I feel like Apple is making the right choice in not giving the FBI the shooter’s phone and information. Because they don’t know what or how they will be using that information and in what way they would be using it as.
    I think this claim is a respectful claim, because you don’t want someone to find out that they are able to hack into someone’s phone or hack into the government and steal your “messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”
    I agree with Ashley on how that Apple is making the right decision. It would be a very scary thought to see what the FBI is going to do with the information and how they are going to use it.
  • Storing my data on my Iphone is really important to me because my phone really does know everything about me. My privacy only varies greatly because online I’m not willing to send out my home address etc. on let’s say my facebook page. But on my phone I feel like I know who I am talking to and I can trust them. So my privacy is very important to me even though you won't find anything necessarily bad on my phone it's still a little creepy to go looking through my data.

    I feel like Apple is right about not giving up a ‘backdoor’ to the IPhone. If they did a lot of people would feel scared and they might worry about that happening to them (I know I would). I would also have to agree with the articles claim by Jim Rueff “I wonder if Cook would be so resistant if the attack had occurred at Apple’s headquarters.” Even though it didn't happen at Apple I think that Cook would probably be okay with creating a ‘backdoor’ to the iPhones.
  • I think that our phones are our privacy, although I can see why the FBI wants to have a backdoor to the iPhones but it's unfair. That they can spy on us and take our information, but we can’t take theirs because, their privacy is “better and more important” than the rest of the American citizen.
    When there is a back door their is also a “front door”, so why can’t apple decode the “front door”.
    I understand why they want to use a backdoor, but their are going to use it more than once, so I see why apple is refusing them. “Thanks to Apple’s encryption software and additional security features, terrorists can conspire to commit another 9/11 attack with little fear of discovery.” I think that's a sheltered why of thinking if they want to stop all terrorist, they would need all of the cameras and micro phones on every phone to be up and running at all times. No one wants that because the government doesn’t have the right to just waltz into a business, and be like, “yea there was a shooting and he used one of your phones, we are going to need you to make a way for us to look at all of the stuff they do” . They also said that, because Apple isn’t helping that everyone should boycott or stop buying, because the FBI isn’t getting its way their are trying to bully Apple into allowing them that.
  • The data on my phone is very important to me, it has all my photos, conversations, and etc. My phone goes everywhere with me. If I don’t have it with me I feel like i'm forgetting something and it bugs me all day.

    I think that it is fine to enter the shooters phone because he is a terrorist who committed a crime. On the other hand I don’t think that it is right for the FBI to want a backdoor added to every iPhone I think that they should just unlock the terrorist phone because it could help them with the case.

    I don't think that the FBI needs to unlock every iPhone. I think that Apple could unlock just the terrorist phone so they can look at the data but they don't need to have a backdoor to every phone.Everyone had privacy and most people would like to keep their privacy private. Having privacy isn't terrorism it a part of life.

    I think that Apple is doing the right thing and not adding a backdoor to the iPhones and that “They believe the content of your iPhones are none of our business.”

    I agree with Brittany saying that that “smartphones have become an essential part of our lives.”I believe that smartphones are essential part of our lives people with smartphones use then about everyday not just to text and call up to go on Facebook and other social media or to use a camera etc.
  • My data on my phone is very important. I have lots of things that don't need to be seen. I really like privacy on all of my online things. If I were getting stalked or having people see things that I don't want to would make me mad and embarrass me. I feel like Apple made the right choice to turn down the FBI and not letting them invade other people's space. People deserve privacy and they need to respect that. I also don't agree with this app or thing that allows the gov to invade people's phone for certains purposes. My question is are they really gonna do that.
    “We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good.” I agree with this because they are here to protect and keep the bad away. But I do agree with FBI getting into terrorist phone to figure out their plan and stop them from doing anything to this country. I agree with Emily. “The government already knows almost everything about us, why should we let them in our phones?” This is a true statement on why they should not do this.
  • Some of my data is important to me but not all of it. I honestly don’t care about Apple’s refusal to let the FBI into the shooters phone. I wouldn’t respond to the claim because the government can see half the stuff we do on our phones today. Some would argue that building a backdoor for just one iPhone is a simple, clean-cut solution.

    I agree with Mr. Polking that it is bad enough that Apple and other phone makers track us on our phones.
  • The data on my phone is very important to me. To me, what’s on my phone kind of makes up who I am. I have memories, notes, and conversations on my phone that I would never willingly give up. In the article, it says, “Smartphones, led by iPhone, have become an essential part of our lives.” I agree with this 100%. I don’t do this very often, but sometimes I will try to be more conservative with my phone. This includes trying not to use it, and immersing myself in the real world more. It doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it doesn’t last long.

    I have a mixed opinion about how Apple refused to give the FBI entry to the shooter’s phone. On one hand, I disagree. I feel as if they would let the FBI do that, that it would be very helpful in their investigation. However, I agree with Apple too. The FBI isn’t just requiring access for this shooters phone, but for all phones in general. Although they say they wouldn’t use the ‘backdoor’ for anything other than this one phone, how do we know that’s true? The answer is we don’t. There is so much the government keeps secret from us and lies to us about. Why would we want to add another thing to that list? Not only that, but it’s an invasion of our privacy. I, for one, do not want anyone going through my phone without my permission. I bet many others would say the same.

    I sort of agree. Having privacy isn’t terrorism. When people say that, though, I can kind of see how the limit of privacy would be terrorism. It’s a way of controlling us, of spying on us, of making us afraid of what we put on our phones. Plus, if the government wants to limit our privacy, then why would we even bother buying smartphones anymore? Terrorists would only find some other way to communicate. The privacy of phones is not the problem.

    I agree with what Polking said about how it’s bad that they already track us through everything. Most of the people who agree to have their locations turned on don’t know what they’re saying yes too. Weakening our data would only cause more trouble for us in the long run.
  • Although I don't live in my phone as much as most of your generation, I do use use it enough to worry about the data stored in it and what it reveals about me. And I spend lots of time online, and have even stronger concerns about how that data might be used. Not because I am surfing the Dark Net and ordering child brides and illegal drugs, or even visiting any embarrassing sites. Simply because privacy matters, and privacy is part of the liberty that our American society was built on. Whoever says that only those with something to hide need to worry about privacy have mistaken the argument. We all need to worry about privacy, and privacy from the government is part of that.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook makes an excellent point when he says the following about the government's attempts to force his company to build a backdoor into their devices and our data: "In the wrong hands, this software—which does not exist today—would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession." Including mine. Including yours. Including, eventually, your Android phone as well. I understand that freedom and security are a balance, and that in times of threat we may have to curtail some freedoms in order for our nation to be safe. I do not, however, this a valid enough threat to warrant giving the government a further way to track us. And history, both distant and recent, has shown us that the government will use any investigative technologies to surveil citizens with no links to any crimes. Indeed, some believe the government is already doing this even more than we already know.

    To be honest, it's bad enough how much Apple and other phone makers already track us via our phones. All those location-specific apps that you've enabled? All can be used to track you. All those websites you visit? They're using cookies to track your browsing online. We need to expand the security of our data, not weaken it. Forcing Apple to give the government a way to access the data in our phones will not bring back those killed in the San Bernadino shootings. In fact, the terrorists have succeeded if we do that—as we will have become a nation defined by what we fear rather than what we believe in. The lives lost in San Bernadino do matter, and so do ours, and that's why I side with Apple in this argument.
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