It’s the tech story that just won’t die. We’ve spoken before about the Apple vs FBI legal battle raging on, but since then we’ve seen even more developments come to light. From Microsoft standing behind Apple to Bill Gates himself weighing in on the other side of the debate, this controversial issue is dividing opinion – is it the duty of tech giants to protect user data or should we being doing all that we can to fight terrorism?

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For any readers out of the loop, a US high court has decreed that Apple should unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooters who killed 14 people in December last year. The couple’s iPhone 5c is now in the hands of the FBI who want Apple to create software that can bypass the 10 attempt maximum on entering false passcodes on locked devices. Though ordered by the courts to comply, Apple are refusing to develop the software as it would compromise their commitment to data security on their devices and set a precedent for allowing government access. It’s not as clear cut as you might imagine and the FBI and Apple are going round in circles looking for the answer.

In the premier post for our new series, ‘Thoughts from the Office’, we’ve gathered three willing colleagues to share their opinions on the Apple vs FBI debate. Are they #TeamApple or #TeamFBI?

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I think this will be an ongoing battle.  However I think a compromise should be met where Apple have the right to say to no to the FBI UNLESS it is putting the country or innocent lives at risk and they need to gain access to the devices to either prosecute or to prevent any major catastrophe from happening!

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While I understand the FBI’s efforts and motive here – my main concern here is the human right to privacy. No matter the person or circumstance if a governmental body encroaches on these rights once – it makes it much easier for them to do so again. This is especially true in this case as Tim Cook expressedIn the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”

It is clear in this case that creation of this software would open up a whole new threat on the privacy of iPhone users – not just from the FBI but from other parties most notably hackers / cyber criminals. I believe at the very base of any legal system there should be rights that are attributed to its people that are not dismissed under any circumstance. It is when these rights are dismissed or abused – even in the name of justice or retribution – that atrocities can and have occurred.

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Having read into this a little more, I now see the dilemma.

This is all about Apple changing their software so that their phones will not be wiped after 10 attempts, and the FBI can use a brute force attack to get into the phone without fear of it wiping it.

Apple have a duty to keep theirs customers data safe, and this is a unique selling point.  If they change their software to allow this, it is inevitable that sales will drop due to perceived security issues. The irony is that this is a security issue and therefore a paradox in itself.

I’m sure we would all agree that most of our precious secrets, passwords, bank details and the like, are kept on our phone.  Would you buy one that could easily be hacked knowing that previously, before this FBI plea to congress, that it was a safer?

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Our opinions have ended up being as diverse as our workforce with perspectives ranging from concerns over integrity to the impact this will have on Apple commercially! Sadly The 848 Group were unable to reach a conclusion over what is to be done over that iPhone. Our opinion on Apple vs FBI is split even more and the dilemma is no closer to being solved.

Let us know what your feelings are on Apple vs FBI – who are you siding with? Don’t worry… we won’t tell!