Should the government protect our privacy or our lives?

By Katherine Briante
April 20, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 4.05.51 PM
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 4.05.51 PM
The government was able to get access to the shooters’ iPhone without Apple’s help. Emily Rowan/Photo Editor

Last month the government announced that it was able to unlock the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhone without the help of Apple. According to a New York Times article, The government had first approached Apple CEO Tim Cook in January seeking help in unlocking the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the gunmen who was involved in the shooting in San Bernardino, CA. Apple refused claiming, that, despite the phones’ owner, it would be a breach in privacy.

The government’s recent announcement that they were able to gain access to the phones’ information has sparked a lot of debate about how safe information is if the government now has a method of accessing people’s smart phones.

Many people are of the opinion that while the government wanted to use the decoding technology for a good purpose, giving them complete and unrestricted access to that technology is a bad idea.

“My opinion is that Apple did the right thing,” Sara Smith, sophomore political science major, said. “They were afraid that if they created the tech to unlock the phone for the government, the government could essentially use it to do as they please for whenever there was a risk, but they (the government) are the ones who categorize risks. They could say anything is a risk to our country.”

“Although the government’s use of this technology was a great idea for the situation, ‘big brother’s’ ability to have unrestricted access to our phones is a little unnerving,” Dannielle Farrall, sophomore Chinese major at the University of Rhode Island, said.

This also brings up the debate of whether privacy is more important than national security. Should the government have access to this kind of information in matters of national security?

“Should I give up freedom and privacy, the rights promised to us by our country, for security and safety? Maybe,” Farrall said. “Maybe the only way for us to keep any form of safety is to give up some privacy, [although] I haven’t come to a consensus.”

“The government should have the resources to handle situations like this themselves and shouldn’t have to go to an outside source, which means the public confrontation between Apple and the government shouldn’t have had to happen.”

The debate of privacy vs. security has been going on for some time now and this conflict between Apple and the government has only fanned the flames even more and it appears that America is no closer to a solution because of it.

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Katherine Briante

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