Apple vs FBI: What does it mean?

Short comments on FBI vs Apple in San Bernardino case.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University

My comment is that as much as I empathize with the FBI and its desire to get to the data, it would set a terrible precedent and for questionable gain. Not only is the data probably not crucial in the case at hand (there is no dispute at all about who committed the crimes in question, and that they were premeditated murders), but a technical backdoor built into smartphones would create a security vulnerability of epic proportions. All around the world hackers would focus their criminal energy on exploiting that backdoor, thus making vulnerable over a billion of people’s personal data. That surely is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The answer to cybersecurity challenges must be better protection and improved security for our sensitive data, not less.

Ian Brown, Professor of Information Security and Privacy Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University

Companies should not *voluntarily* comply – this is contrary to the rule of law. Governments should set out in democratically agreed, accessible statutes, legal powers of compulsion that meet all of the requirements of human rights treaties.

Read also Foreign surveillance: law and practice in a global digital environment

Dorothy DenningDistinguished Professor of Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate School

The case is important in that it looks to be precedent setting regarding the extent to which the government can compel assistance from companies that produce information technologies.

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