The tech industryâs battle with the United States government over encryption has reached a fever pitch.
Ever since the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden revealed in 2013 that the agency was hacking some tech companies and cozying up to others to gain user data, Silicon Valley behemoths have had an uneasy relationship with the United States government. Apple, which encrypts its iPhones, has been one of the most outspoken on the issues of encryption and privacy, saying it cannot give authorities access to peopleâs private data and information.
That outspokenness reached a new height on Tuesday after a federal court order was issued requiring Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the attackers in the December mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. Timothy D. Cook, Appleâs chief executive, published a strongly worded letter opposing the order and argued that unlocking one iPhone could lead to a slippery slope.
âWe fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect,â Mr. Cook wrote.
Mr. Cookâs move immediately sparked a debate about which side was in the right, write Eric Lichtblau and Katie Benner. Other tech companies responded with caution. It was also a culmination of the turning of the tables by the tech industry against the United States government, which had been triggered by the Snowden revelations, writes Farhad Manjoo. And for a step-by-step guide of the technology underlying the case, read Mike Isaacâs explainer here.