I know that this is a very inflammatory title and that is what this 9to5Mac post stated as such. The Department of Justice warned Apple that it could be blamed for its crusade to protect user privacy (Google is also now following suit with Android data in similar manners) should a child die all because authorities could not have access the kidnapper's iOS data.
Here is why I titled this post that way. Because should this actually happen and law enforcement could not prevent a child's murder in time, there will be some giddy bureaucrat or two and its PR machine ready to pin it square on Apple or Google, depending on what phone the kidnapper may be using. And regardless of whether the mobile device of the kidnapper is relevant or not, the DOJ will use this child's death to its end.
It's unfortunate that the government is stooping so low to get what it wants - wholesale access to our data no matter what. Collection of data is paramount. Isn't that Big Brother?
Like others have said, it isn't as if authorities cannot find out where this kidnapper might be if they go to the wireless companies to find what they need to pinpoint the location of the kidnapper. Having access to the criminal's phone won't help unless he specifically states where he is at any given time.
The the problem is the lack of transparency that usually is involved with government programs and lack of accountability. Personally, I think my information is safer with the NSA than with Google but that is not the point. The point is that I'm a law-abiding American citizen and there really is no need for any law enforcement or intel agency to track my Twitter, Facebook, or texts.
The government has to wonder why corporations are pushing back. Of course, they're doing it because of the bottom-line but it's also the trust of the consumers they have be accountable to. Apparently, some in the government do no feel they are accountable to voters, many of who are the same consumers of these corporations.
I think a vast majority of the law enforcement, the agents, analysts, and other personnel, have nothing but our best interest at heart and want to protect us and bring criminals and terrorists to justice. They're just like you and me. And at their disposal are other tools and means that will allow them to accomplish their jobs without doing away with the notion of general privacy.
Scare tactics like the one the DOJ used in their meeting with Apple executives has me very wary. I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I cannot help but think what will happen should something bad happen again and the government is asking us to relinquish more of our privacy, well, I think you know where I'm going with this. The inevitable fear from the general public will so overwhelming that we are once again faced with the choice of what is more important: our privacy or safety. If history is any indication, it'll be a sad dark road we head down.
Can you imagine what Prism 2.0 will be like?
According to the Wall Street Journal which accounted the meeting between Apple executives and the DOJ, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, second highest ranking official over at Justice, implied that that is exactly how it'll play out. Some child will die and the public outcry will force Congress to change the law allowing government access to our information.
That's is the gist of it. Some in the government are waiting (maybe even hoping) for something awful to happen to a child or another terror incident so that the pendulum will swing away from our need for privacy and our willing to give that up for safety.