Who should win in iPhone case, Apple or the US Government?

Who should win in iPhone case, Apple or the US Government?

GRI Debate: Who is right, Apple or the US Government?

The case of whether the US government should be able to compel Apple to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist attack suspect’s iPhone has sparked a national discussion about privacy vs security. In this debate, GRI asked two of its top analysts to analyze who is right, and what the implications of the case are for technology and national security.

In support of Apple

Eileen Filmus argues that ultimately, national security is better served by maintaining Apple’s privacy and technological integrity.

“The issue with this debate is that it paints a dichotomy between security as tangible and privacy as virtual. This limited view makes it very easy to treat privacy as the ‘softer’ consideration in contrast to security as one tied to physical survival. If it were that simple then there would be no question that the risk of lives lost to violence is far more important than bank account or health data. But here’s the thing: emerging technologies are so rapidly spilling over the boundaries of virtual reality and making their way into our very real, physical lives. What might just be meaningless data today may not be so meaningless tomorrow.”

Read the full article here.


In support of the US Government

Alex Harris argues that national security is paramount. The case shows that the government is willing to pursue every lead to fight terrorism and protect its citizens.

“Privacy-supporters would assert the necessity of placing the privacy of an individual before the security of the state. Perhaps, as these attacks continue to increase, this necessity will change. This case is more important than any intelligence that is ultimately located on the phone. It is about whether security should be placed first before privacy. Despite what the media suggests, this is not a ruling that will open all iPhones to be exploited by the US Government at its own will.”

Read the full article here.



GRI Debates provide critical insight into the world’s most challenging political risk topics. Through well-balanced opinion based articles, GRI Debates offer a forum for deeper discussion into how major political decisions and security challenges affect markets, investment, and economic growth across the globe.

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