In the latest development, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, according to this BBC link, High Commissioner for human rights at the United Nations, has extended support to Apple in its ongoing struggle with the FBI regarding the hacking of the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone.
Prince Al Hussein says that although the FBI must get all the support it needs to bring justice to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting, forcing Apple to help the FBI hack into the iPhone of the terrorist will not be in the interest of people’s freedom and right to privacy. In a statement he said, “There are many ways to investigate whether or not these killers had accomplices besides forcing Apple to create software to undermine the security features of their own phones.”
“It is potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes, as well as to criminal hackers,” he further said. “Encryption and anonymity are needed as enablers of both freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to privacy. Without encryption tools, lives may be endangered.”
The more I think of it, the more I relate to what Apple is trying to achieve along with other tech companies who are supporting Apple. Once Apple relents to the demand of the FBI, it may set off a chain reaction forcing many tech companies in other countries to undermine and support their own security features. The High Commissioner rightly says that it may endanger people’s lives in authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China.
But then, if this is the case, then the right to privacy must be all pervasive. For example, if I post something “objectionable” on the Internet, the law enforcement agencies can easily track me and hunt me down and people won’t have much problem with that. So why can this be done in the case of an iPhone? Why is the privacy of an iPhone user greater compared to someone using the Internet without an iPhone?
This question causes conflict.