US Opinion and Commentary

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The Thin Line Between Privacy and Security

Posted March 29th, 2016 at 3:21 pm (UTC-5)
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After the horrific and deadly terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California at a work holiday party, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began its work: what drove the suspects – a Muslim couple with an infant – to kill 14 people? Were they acting at the behest of ISIS? Investigators found the iPhone of Syed Farook, but couldn’t get past the passcode to examine his contacts. Apple CEO Tim Cook refused an FBI order to create a coded “backdoor.” Critics called foul, accusing the FBI of looking for a case with which it could set a legal precedent. Cook held firm. Privacy protests erupted. This week, the FBI announced it used a third party to successfully hack the smartphone. Obvious questions were immediately raised: why did U.S. authorities try to legally compel Apple to create a backdoor? Who wins in such cases? Are we safer when officials can force digital companies to make hackable products? Or, must personal privacy always trump security?

The Terrorist’s iPhone

Posted February 19th, 2016 at 2:25 pm (UTC-5)
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This is just the first round in a fight that could reshape the way surveillance and crime-solving are carried out in the information age, a battle that serves as a useful reminder that technology is no magic cure for longstanding trade-offs.