Con: Government access to smartphones oversteps boundary

This month controversy stirred across the nation as tech giant Apple takes on the FBI in court regarding encryption. The FBI has requested that Apple create a backdoor into iPhone’s, allowing the FBI to have full reign over the device, gaining access to all of a user’s personal information. Apple believes this to be overreach of the government’s authority, stating that while the government’s intentions may not be malevolent, the consequence of creating such a backdoor is too severe.

“It’s comforting knowing there are still some ways to deny the American government information — privacy is privacy, and we are finally assured that it still exists in some form. I don’t see why we need to change that,” said Chris Janocha (’16). The potential for misuse and abuse of personal information  is far too great and outweighs any positive attributes. Giving the government carte blanche to intrude on our personal information only bodes poorly and paints an ominous future. Time and time again, the government has proven that they cannot be trusted with such power, notably,  with the FBI’s wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s and of millions of American citizens under PRISM in the past decade.

The use of decryption would undoubtedly carry on the precedent of our personal rights slowly being devoured by hysteria and paranoia surrounding terrorism. Not only are we losing our rights, we are also playing into the hands of groups like ISIS, whose main tool of onslaught is fear itself. Our liberty, our power as individuals, requires sacrifices to be upheld. Our power to bite back is deeply embedded in our right to privacy; we possess the ability to form groups which can have influence over culture, politics, and all aspects of life, and this power is safeguarded by privacy. Without it, the government can put an end to anything it deems a threat, and history has shown that government cannot be trusted as the arbitrator of life.

“I don’t think Apple should give the FBI this ‘technology.’ I don’t think so because it is just a violation of our right as American citizens to have privacy. It’s is just another thing that the government can take away from us. It’s not a huge deal, but after this, what’s next? It’s a slippery slope,” said Michael Clark (’17). We now have enormous sway through the advent of the internet, people can connect and share ideas, while being able to elude any oppressive forces, giving birth to a world where almost everyone has a voice and a platform to speak from. This is the most beautiful aspect of contemporary society and something we should strongly fight to preserve; we as individuals, now more than ever, carry the key to destiny and most protect our right to it.