Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Apple Vs. FBI: Today’s Solution, Tomorrow’s Threat

Photo courtesy of ualberta.ca

Summary of Argument

The FBI’s dispute with Apple over requesting to access a terrorist’s phone for information has caught the attention of the UN. Al Hussein has argued that, while passing a law allowing authorities to bypass electronics’ security features may resolve the current dilemma, it could have catastrophic repercussions. It could be inviting authorities to abuse their power to violate the rights and privacy of innocents through their electronics.

Techcrunch.com reports Hussein’s speech:

A successful case against Apple in the US will set a precedent that may make it impossible for Apple or any other major international IT company to safeguard their clients’ privacy anywhere in the world. It is potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes, as well as to criminal hackers. There have already been a number of concerted efforts by authorities in other States to force IT and communications companies such as Google and Blackberry to expose their customers to mass surveillance.


Premises and Conclusion:

The argument that Hussein puts forward is as follows:

Authorities often abuse their power
Authorities want the power to hack civilians’ electronics
Authorities will abuse their power to violate civilians’ rights and privacy through electronics


Truth, Validity, and Soundness:

There is a doubtless number of occasions where authorities have abused their power at the expense of civilians, including the ones mentioned by Hussein. Even clearer is the FBI’s desire to hack electronics for information. Both of these premises are true, while the conclusion is only a speculation of what could happen. Given the truthfulness of the premises, though, it is likely that the speculative conclusion is true, as well.

Since both of the premises are definite and without contradiction, the argument is also valid. Hussein’s argument, then, is sound.


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