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Apple V The FBI Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2838 1432 Words (6 Pages) Chris Kemerer, Michael Smith Ivey Publishing : W18542
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

The case "Apple vs. the FBI" started after a terrorist attack on San Bernardino, when an iPhone as evidence was found. The federal judge requested Apple to assist in getting access to the user's data with the hope of discovering and preventing future threats. More specifically, the FBI required software as a backdoor to help them electronically input passcodes, encrypt them and get access. Apple helped provide the information that it could. However, Tim Cook, Apple CEO, issued a public letter stating non-cooperation concerning the FBI's demands. He emphasized that creating a backdoor would compromise the security and privacy standards for their customers since that software could be used for any iPhone. Cook also believed that the government was overstepping its legal boundaries. So, he stayed firm in his decisions. The case took complicated turns, but eventually, the FBI dropped it, affirming that they did not need Apple's help anymore. The reports suggest that a third-party company helped the FBI in accessing that phone.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. Was Apple wrong for not complying with the FBI’s request? If so, why? If not, why not?

  2. What ethical issues are involved in this case? 

  3. Identify five (5) stakeholders and explain each of their stakes (interests) in this case.

Case Study Questions Answers

1. Was Apple wrong for not complying with the FBI's request? If so, why? If not, why not?

Apple’s decision not to comply with the FBI regarding the software that would have allowed the FBI to attempt passcode electronically is not wrong for many reasons. They stood firm with their protocols that gave a strong statement. By refusing to use a backdoor to encrypt an iPhone device, Apple has maintained the privacy and security of its users. 

Firstly, complying with the FBI would have set a wrong precedent. It would have shown that Apple would always go with the approval for such requests of accessing encrypted data. Therefore, it would certainly have compromised the user’s security for data. Also, for other organizations and law enforcement, it would have set a pathway for future requests from them for the same purpose. That again would come to the same issue of privacy. Apple could not afford to take a bet when it is the question of privacy and security. 

Secondly, Cook, CEO of Apple, has stated on several occasions about the safety and security the company promotes via its products. He has emphasized the fact that complying with the FBI is dangerous for them since it is going to affect users' trust in Apple’s products. The company believes in providing quality products with advanced security features; hence they did not go against their values. If it had cooperated with the FBI, the company’s reputation would have been destroyed, which would have been visible in terms of customers lost as the business of gadgets revolves around users’ data. 

Lastly, the issue was not limited to providing a backdoor to the FBI only. It was all the other issues that would have occurred if the requests were accepted by Apple. The government was using an act called the All writs act (1789) to justify their demands. By acting on the same law, they wanted Apple to not only provide a backdoor for one phone only, but it would have also enabled them to use it for any device and capture the data related to anything without the user's knowledge. However, the argued law was itself not clear, and Apple was doing everything to cooperate but to compromise the user's security. 

2. What ethical issues are involved in this case?

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