So back on January 11th this year I posted some comments on a tech industry convening in San Jose, California, aimed at trying to untie the “Gordian Knot” of how everyone’s personal privacy can be protected whenever they choose to use any of the social media tools available to them (“Dazed and Confused in Silicon Valley”). Government officials flew in from Washington in order to help broker this landmark agreement. Nearly three months have passed and quess what? We have reached an impasse, well at least with one of the the technological giants who does not want to share the secrets of its programming encryption. Mr. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, wants to protect his users’ data.
I guess that’s all very noble and reassuring to iPhone owners, but let’s remember that an act of terrorism was committed here and many innocent American lives were lost. Does Apple really want to protect the privacy of its customers, or are they more interested in guarding its “special sauce.” I think it’s the latter. I remember hearing something about corporate responsibility in American business practices in the past. This situation may not be perfectly analogous, but let’s remember that companies like Apple have become very successful and very wealthy because of the favorable economic environment that exists in this country.
We should not forget that the victims of the San Bernadino attack at a Holiday party last December were professional staff who were working with individuals with developmental disabilities. Fourteen were killed, twenty-two were injured. I think that their lives mattered, and we should respond responsibly. As Tim Cook himself has said, “This is an issue that impacts all of us and we will not shrink from this responsibility.”