When Apple posted a $10.5 billion decline in their net income couple weeks ago, I couldn’t but ponder a correlation to the fiasco it had with the FBI on privacy. Apple erred in handling the FBI’s request on hacking the iPhone that was in possession of the San Bernardino terrorist attackers.
Apple argued that complying with the request would deal a devastating blow to the privacy and freedoms of US citizens. Where Apple missed the point aside of stirring a public relations backlash, is by playing in the hands of a well-designed trap.
Surely the FBI had a backup plan, didn’t Apple count on that? Didn’t Apple know that their decision wouldn’t have mattered? If they didn’t then I’m sorry to say that their strategist has short foresight. The FBI wanted the media to engage the public on its stance towards encryption and privacy. It needed to public support on carrying it argument for access to encrypted devices.
Surely enough as was announced shortly after, that the FBI sought hacking expertise from external vendors. And yes, no useful was information was found. Nevertheless, if Apple predicted this scenario and argued that it’s all about ethical principles; then it erred even more. I postulate that Apple’s initial positionality wasn’t a matter of principle of ethics it was a shortsightedness in strategic clairvoyance.
I point to that because days later Apple seized an opportunity to polish its public image by announcing that its helping authorities to unlock the phone that belonged to the Florida teens who got lost at sea.