To the editor: Apple, Microsoft and other technology companies have created new ways to share information that benefit us all. But just like every other technological improvement that comes along, what those companies have made has caused new problems. The simple fact is that Apple has created the perfect vehicle for worldwide terrorist movements to plan attacks and enlist fighters. It owes the world an effort to fight back against this. ("The FBI wants Apple to pry into your iPhone," editorial, Feb. 17)
While I am very liberal and applaud Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook's concern for privacy over a court order requiring his company to help the FBI unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists, I would advise him that this is not the time for a firm stand based on rigid ideology. Every belief should have exceptions. Look at the Republican Party, which has fought progress like the use of embryonic stem-cell research based on rigid moral principles.
Yes, it's possible that bending on this issue will increase privacy violations by the government, but terrorist groups are doing far worse to us right now. I wouldn't be happy if someone stole my credit card or hacked into my Facebook page, but I'd be really unhappy if I was dead. Cook should give the world a hand and help unlock this phone.
Vince Scully, Long Beach
To the editor: I wonder how the government and courts will force Apple engineers to create their back-door key.
Will federal agents occupy the cubicles of Cupertino and stare intently at programmers through dark sunglasses, demanding progress? Or, perhaps the FBI and judges will borrow the tactics used by the CIA, kidnapping Apple employees and moving them to “black sites” (or Guantanamo Bay) where they'll face daily waterboarding sessions until they produce a method to eliminate iPhone privacy.
Torture in the name of fighting terrorism has produced mainly false information from those tortured and moral disgrace for America. But maybe it would make Apple engineers betray the trust of their customers.
I don't think so. Hang tough, Apple.
Jay Lynch, Pittsburgh
To the editor: Thanks to Apple's encryption software and additional security features, terrorists can conspire to commit another 9/11 attack with little fear of discovery.
Those who support Apple are saying that, for them, invasion of privacy is literally a fate worse than death. Most of us disagree. Those of us for whom human lives matter, including the lives lost in San Bernardino, should boycott Apple.
Scott McKenzie, La Cañada Flintridge
To the editor: How about a comprise?
The FBI gives Apple the phone. Apple, in private, unlocks the phone and retrieves information. Apple then the re-locks the phone and returns it and what it found to the FBI.
Apple would do its part in helping with this specific terrorism-related issue but without compromising its position on privacy in general. The FBI would have any information that the phone may contain with any possible benefits for finding more terrorist activity in the future.
Bruce Fischer, Huntington Beach
To the editor: I wonder if Cook would be so resistant if the attack had occurred at Apple's headquarters. We should boycott Apple until the company cooperates.
Jim Rueff, Fountain Valley