A war has been raging over privacy laws lately, as the United States government has been attempting to get into an iPhone that was owned by one of the shooters from San Bernardino, California. The attack killed 14 people, and police recovered the phone after the shooter and his wife, who helped with the attack, were killed.
The government, at first, could not get into the phone, so they filed a legal case against Apple, demanding that the company open it up. Apple refused to do so, saying that its customers had a right to their privacy, not matter what they had done. That case was recently dropped, though, as the FBI managed to
hack into the phone without Apple's assistance.
In some ways, this feels like a conclusion to the case. The government did not say how it got in, but they got what they wanted. They can see contacts in the phone, and they can look for additional information that may lead them to other parties involved with the shooters. The government initially wanted to look at the phone for safety reasons, fearing that others who were connected to the man and his wife could carry out a similar attack.
From a privacy standpoint, though, no answers have been given. The case was dismissed, so no legal precedent was set. This means people still have to wonder what power the government may have to get at personal information when it is supposed to be kept secret. There are also questions about what rights a company like Apple has to deny the government that information.
For its part, Apple seems to believe that it was still in the right and would have prevailed in court. When it was announced that the phone had been hacked, the company said it would work on further security updates, presumably so that such a thing could not happen again.
Personal Privacy in Criminal Cases
For those facing criminal charges, this case could have been incredibly important, so it will be crucial to see if any developments happen, even now that the phone has been hacked. Regardless of the charges people are facing, they must know their rights to privacy and how companies may defend those rights.
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