Being painfully aware of my many limitations, it didn’t take long to realize that I am not smart enough to fully understand the kerfuffle between the FBI and Apple.
You know, the one in which the federal government has asked the technology giant to break into an iPhone. The one in which the FBI is trying to unearth secrets that might or might not have been left behind by terrorist Syed Farook after he and his wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.
A judge has ordered Apple to write software that would allow the FBI to access the phone’s secrets, hoping to figure out if Farook had help in carrying out the attack. Apple officials, meanwhile, are seeking to have the ruling overturned.
The intricacies of the case and the technology involved and the questions of personal privacy vs. national security go well beyond the simplistic explanations provided by cable news or by presidential candidates. And while I’m not sure I comprehend all of them, I know somebody who does.
“Couldn’t be more clear. Apple is absolutely right on this,” wrote Eric Chown, a computer science professor at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. “There is no possible way in the world to design a system that only works for the government.