Apple Computer has become one of the world’s preeminent technology companies. I am typing this posting on an Apple, my wife regularly uses one to create beautiful graphic design, and I appreciate that the security on Apples is much better than it is for Windows. I am also someone who is concerned about personal privacy in a digital environment, although I am realistic enough to know there is no such thing as absolute privacy and I reject the quaint leftist notion that their is somehow a “right to complete privacy” in the U.S. Constitution.
What is troubling and infuriating is Apple’s refusal to cooperate with the FBI to get information from the employer provided Apple iPhone used by one of the Islamist terrorists who, along with his wife, murdered 14 people in San Bernadino, CA. Gathering reliable intelligence is absolutely imperative if we want to prevent further terrorist attacks in the U.S. Information encrypted on the iPhone of this terrorist may provide information about other potential Islamist terrorists who were in contact with the San Bernadino terrorists and may have provided them material or “moral” support to carry out their heinous acts. These supporters may live in foreign countries or they may live in the U.S. The FBI and our homeland security agencies need to know who these individuals are if we hope to prevent a repetition of the San Bernadino attacks.
Unfortunately, Apple’s sanctimoniously posturing CEO Tim Cook thinks preserving Apple’s brand name and exalted sense of personal privacy is more important than protecting the lives of the American people and Apple customers in the U.S. and internationally. The FBI is only seeking to gain access to the phone records of one individual and federal law is set up so that cases for individual phone records can only be made on a case by case basis by law enforcement agencies. What’s especially ironic and hypocritical in this episode is that Cook, who has been a vocal advocate for homosexual rights, seems not to realize that the perpetrators of this act, along with other Islamist terrorists, are “homophobes” who virulently oppose the lifestyle Cook has chosen to practice and be a vocal public advocate for. You would think Cook would favor tracking down murderous thugs who are opposed to the pluralism and diversity he allegedly espouses. Unfortunately, the anti-law enforcement mindset so prevalent in the left has overtaken the need for a good public image and a cooperative attitude with our law enforcement officials you think would be foremost in an entrepreneur’s mind. In fighting Islamist terrorism, our law enforcement and intelligence officials need to have expedited access to actionable intelligence.
While there need to be some sensible restrictions on governmental surveillance powers, we cannot afford to have unctuous self-appointed personal privacy zealots like Tim Cook thwart legitimate efforts to protect public safety by hiding behind a rhetorical wall of protecting an unattainable standard of personal privacy. I wonder if Cook would act this way if the San Bernadino attack had occurred at Apple’s headquarters or in Cook’s neighborhood?