Maricopa County bans its employees from purchasing new iPhones, says Apple is ‘on the side of terrorists’
Apple vs. FBI fight is taking new turns and twists everyday. The recent United States court’s order to Apple for hack San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone and providing a backdoor for the agency has opened a all out war between the Apple supporters and FBI. The feud has divided the public, lawmakers, and tech CEOs over a person’s right to privacy versus the need for national security. Apple has argued that giving FBI a backdoor on one iPhone can open a gateway to all the iPhones and many agree with it.
The Apple vs FBI has another side attached to it. Nationalism! This came to far when a county in United States banned its employees from buying iPhones because…..Apple is on the side of terrorists!
Bill Montgomery, Attorney of Maricopa County this week issued a ban on the iPhone in response to Apple’s decision not to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in unlocking the iPhone 5c of one of the San Bernardino shooters. He said that his office will no longer provide iPhones to prosecutors and other employees in direct response to Apple’s legal fight. The ban applies to replacement and upgrade phones for the Arizona county’s more than 900 employees.
“Apple’s refusal to cooperate with a legitimate law enforcement investigation to unlock a phone used by terrorists puts Apple on the side of terrorists instead of on the side of public safety,” Montgomery said. “Positioning their refusal to cooperate as having anything to do with privacy interests is a corporate PR stunt and ignores the 4th Amendment protections afforded by our Constitution.”
Montgomery considered the current standoff as deliberate indifference on the part of Apple. “If the potential for unauthorized access to an encryption key is truly motivating Apple’s unwillingness to assist in downloading information from specific iPhones, then let’s define the problem in those terms and work on that concern. Otherwise, Apple is proving indifferent to the need for evidence to hold people accountable who have harmed or intend to harm fellow citizens.”
“I don’t expect my action to affect Apple’s stock price,” Montgomery said. “But I cannot in good conscience support doing business with an organization that chooses to thwart an active investigation into a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of fourteen fellow citizens. If Apple wants to be the official smartphone of terrorists and criminals, there will be a consequence.”
Currently, of the 564 smartphones that are in use throughout the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, 366 are iPhones.
Earlier this month, a court used the 1789 All Writs Act to order Apple to assist the FBI in hacking a phone that was in the possession of one of the San Bernardino shooting suspects. Apple has said that the code the government is trying to force it to write would put the privacy of all iPhones at risk.
Apple is expected to fight the order by arguing that computer code is free speech, and that the government cannot force the company’s speech.
Experts warn that a win by the government could have the inadvertent consequence of companies creating future devices that are virtually unhackable.
Apple engineers indicated this week that the company was already working on phones with new security measures that even it could not hack.
The Apple vs FBI fight is nowhere near its logical end and we may see such reactions from the opposite side of the spectrum in coming days.