Apple CEO Tim Cook is rejecting the FBI and a federal court order to unlock an iPhone once owned by the San Bernandino terrorists. The reason Apple gives is that to do so would require the company to develop a method that could compromise every iPhone on the planet. That this is a matter of privacy versus government intrusion. Critics, including the Barack Obama White House and even Donald Trump, say that the needs of the nation outweigh such individual liberty. However, the FBI′s argument that there may still be some ′actionable intelligence′ on the iPhone after two months seems a bit of a stretch. On the other hand, would any info obtained by Apple themselves, then turned over to the feds, be admissible in a court of law. Even for securing additional search warrants? It may seem unlikely once the ′chain of possession′ of such evidence is changed so dramatically. Such an action would, in effect, turn Apple into a division of law enforcement.

The Libertarian-Rebel in me makes me want to side with Apple on this issue. Why should they compromise the privacy and security of their customers to appease the government? Don′t we have enough hacking going on already? The iPhone has evolved into much more than just a telephone. With so many apps, especially those allowing for financial transactions, practically every aspect of your personal life is contained inside your smartphone these days. The technology is only going to increase this digital dependency. We are probably within a decade or less of when most purchases are made using a smartphone rather than checks, credit cards, or cash.

Maybe I am misinformed, but it seems to me that most, if not all, of what information the FBI needs to investigate this crime completely can be obtained with a court order to the service provider. If you are looking for potential accomplices, you can get a print out of telephone numbers which were either called or received calls from. Text messages maybe another matter, but after two months, what real good might they provide at this point? As long as you get a phone number, you can get a name. As Frederick Forsyth wrote in his exceptional novel, ″The Day of the Jackal″, you get a name, you get a picture. You get a picture, you get an arrest. Its old fashioned police work!

We just went through this whole NSA spying thing recently and the consensus was, with good reason, that it was a bad idea. If you want to truly fight terrorism, you need to capture terrorists alive and make them talk. This is why we need places like Gitmo to do enhanced interrogations. Serve the terrorists a scopolamine cocktail with a side order of waterboarding and they′ll be singing. Toss in a pair of ′Sandman gloves′ and a little voltage for good measure to verify the intelligence. Beyond that, I would rather live in a world where my iPhone was safe, even from government intrusion, and deal with the potential of terrorism my own way. By being part of an armed citizenry! Leave my smartphone and carry-pistol alone!

So I′m going to go against Obama and Trump on this subject and tip my hat to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The FBI and courts have no business telling Apple how to design their iPhones. As long as it is a safe, consumer product that won′t kill you due to toxins or explosive batteries, the government has no precedent on forcing Apple to make their products accessible to anyone other than the customer. If they did, then what next? Forcing manufacturers of digital cameras on phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers to be accessed by Big Brother whenever they can worm a court order out of a judge? This is one slippery slope we do not want to slide down.