APPLE: PRIVACY VS.SAFETY?

Published: 2019-02-13 10:45:22
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Multinational technology company

Apple is an American multinational technology company whose headquarters are in Cupertino California. It was founded in 1976 by Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Jobs. The primary business was to develop and sell computers. It was incorporated as Apple Computer Inc. but later named Apple Inc. It is the largest technology company by total assets and revenue and second largest by volume after Samsung.

The Company designs, develops and sells electronics, online services, and software. Some of its products include the iPad tablet computer, the iPhone, Apple smart watch, iPod media player among others. The software includes iOS and MacOS operating systems, Safari web browser, iTunes media player others. Apple online services include Apple music, iCloud, iTunes Store, Mac App Store and iOS App Store.

On its privacy clause, Apple states that it receives Governmental requests about revealing clients personal data. According to the company, all devices using iOS 8 and latest versions personal data is placed under the protection of passcode. The company cannot perform data extraction on these devices as the files are guarded by an encryption key tied to user's passcode. Apple was awarded five stars by Electronic Frontier Foundation on its firm stand on privacy, user rights and transparency. Apple's privacy measures do not, however, mean someone can commit a crime and escape with it. According to its 2016 revised privacy clause, the company will help to investigate a suspect using their products if appropriate legal accompany the request. All search requests are viewed to ensure their validity on the legal basis.

In 2015 Apple launched iPhone 6s with more improved privacy measures for customers. According to the CEO Tim Cook, this device was encrypted such that no one other than the owner would access its data. On 2nd December 2015, a terrorist attack occurred in San Bernardino California. It left fourteen people dead and more than 20 injured. The terrorists were a married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. It was found that the couple used an iPhone in the terror attack.

Apple was ordered by a federal judge to assist in unlocking the iPhone used in the terror attack

In 2016 February Apple was ordered by a federal judge to assist in unlocking the iPhone used in the terror attack. Unlocking it would have helped the FBI in retrieving data of the terrorists. Apple refused to give the assistance and instead advised the government to pull out the demands. From the case, it is shown that Tim Cook considered responsibilities from both the government and all people associated with Apple.

Tim Cook and Apple at large were not right to refute in helping the government to unlock the iPhone. This is because the phone would have provided more information about the attack. The terrorists might also have planned more attacks in future hence unlocking the iPhone would prevent more deaths. The relatives of those killed in the terror attack would be happy if justice is done. Unlocking the phone was importance as it would provide more evidence in ruling the terrorists' case. Failing to assist the government in unlocking the phone indicated that Apple did not care about threats posed by its user. Although the company treasures customer privacy in a situation of the terror attack, it should have comprised and assisted. As revealed the terrorists destroyed their phones, this shows that they had intentions of hiding some information in them. It should have been wise for Apple to compromise and assist. This is because it might become a norm for terrorists to plan and conduct their attacks using iPhones as they are sure no one can trace them.

Apple Inc. has over 100,000 employees and many customers all over the world; this makes public safety to be among its priorities. The company supports program which enhances and improve the security for both customers and workers. The company has an education and development program. In 2016 it expanded employees benefits program, expectant women have more days for maternity leave. The company enforces a code of conduct related to labor and human rights. According to reports on its website, it has launched a supplier EHS, Employee Health, and Safety. It is 18 months thought out the world meant to improve employees' health and safety. The company observes gender equality with 325% of the employees being women. The company is attributed for complying with environmental conservation requirements. Apple Inc. is the only company to be awarded for 100% Clean Energy Index, Greenpeace report. Its entire data center globally runs 100% renewable energy. In 2013 the company launched program for clean water. Cooling systems in its data center allows water to be reused up to 35 times. The company helps in waste reduction and recycling. In 2016 Apple Inc. introduced a robot for disassembling iPhones for its components to be reused. The carbon dioxide emitted from its firms is being reduced. There is an increase in some ports for charging vehicles in Apple companies, and employees also use bicycles provided by the firm. The company started to prepared packaging papers from recycled woods to lower rate of cutting trees. Apple supports charity and activities to benefit communities.

Apple Inc. on 16th June 2013 posted a report on its website assuring the customers about commitment to privacy. It stated that it does not provide their servers direct access to any government agency. According to the report, any government agency which wants customer data must obtain a court order. The court order does not, however, mean the company will automatically comply and give the data on some occasions it will decline. From its report on privacy, Apple Inc. stated that if the request to provide information had inconsistencies, it would be refuted. The company assured the customers of an end to end encryption of conversations hence very safe. Tim Cook had responsibilities to protect the company. However, because of the attack, the company should have helped unlock that single device. This would not amount to betrayal or breaching of the privacy of customers. It, in fact, could have acted as a warning to any terrorists who were involved in the attack.

The government was just to request Apple Inc. to unlock the phone. Accessing the data on the phone would help in tracking any extra person involved in planning and conducting the attack. Although Apple Inc. has rules governing its functions, there should be compromises when it comes to the state security. There is nothing that should be prioritized above the security more so after an attack. The government agency, that's Federal Bureau of Investigation, was right on finding a way to hack into the iPhone as reported later. This is because terrorists would continue taking advantage of Apple private policy. This can be very dangerous and risky to the citizens as terrorists will take advantage of it.

sheldon

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