Apple Seeks to End Debate about Encryption

Many words have already been written this morning about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s letter to customers regarding the FBI’s request for Apple to help crack open a door into one of the San Bernardino killers’ iPhone. The debate has already turned into one of privacy versus what political patsy Bill Kristol calls “good citizenship.”

Given that this is an American presidential election year that features a reality TV star as the leading candidate for one of the US’s increasingly irrelevant political parties, the issue has already been reduced to an us vs. them meaningless squabble among the proud to be know-nothings.

But the issue is certainly not meaningless. There are enormous issues at stake here with more than meaningful consequences. At a quicker pace the issue is now headed to our courts, which is where it needs to head. Tim Cook has seen to that with one very bold stroke that declares quite simply that it is time to make a decision on how we are going to deal with the issue of privacy and digital encryption once and for all.

Regardless of how you feel about the issue, how well you are or are not versed about the technical and legal points, or your feelings for Apple as a company, you should applaud Tim Cook. He has said, let’s have this debate. Let’s have it in the courts. Let’s reach a definitive legal end point in a discussion that concerns us all. Let’s decide who we are and who we want to be.

None of that will be easy. None of that will be quick. Certainly, as it takes its course, the discussion will be warped by nonsense spewed from all sides in an era where nonsense spewing is increasingly rewarded. But it is on a course now.

And so are we all.

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