Ever since the news erupted that Apple CEO Tim Cook had refused a federal judge’s court order to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, it set in motion one of the more highly anticipated clashes in recent memory.
It was a debate of national security versus civil liberties. The government versus the tech companies. Washington versus Silicon Valley.
People from all over chimed in on the conversation. CEOs of other major tech companies. Presidential candidates. The infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden. And of course — me.
It wasn’t so much that people were dying to know what was on the San Bernardino shooter’s phone — for all we know there may have been nothing there that would have even helped the feds with their investigation.
But it was set to become a landmark case that would set a precedent of how far the U.S. government can legally intrude into into its own citizens’ personal data for investigative purposes.
Tim Cook was the one taking a moral stand. He was going against the most powerful organization in the world in the United States government, and he was doing it to prevent us, the consumer, from being exploited by the very same bureaucracy that exists to protect us.
It’s drama at its finest. The stuff movies are made of. It’s the Batman vs. Superman we really wanted, one without Ben Affleck.
And then, today, the government dropped the case because they found a way to open it without Apple’s help. The end.
Talk about anticlimactic! Geez.
It’s like going to the movies, ordering your ridiculously overbuttered popcorn, smoking a doobie in the bathroom, and then taking your seat, rearing to go, only to have an usher come up to you and tell you in one sentence how the movie ends rather then allowing you to actually watch it.
We were deprived of what would have been some world-class drama.
The irony, of course, is that now Apple is the one that is demanding the government to let them know how in the world they managed to open it, so they can continue to improve their own security moving forward.
And the government has absolutely zero obligation to tell them. And just like that, Tim Cook transforms from a martyr into a fool.
The battle is still far from over. Another instance will surely pop up, most likely sooner than later, where the government will request a company like Apple to unlock a device for what they claim are for national security purposes.
But it still won’t be the same. Sequels are never as good as the original.
Especially when the original didn’t live up to the hype.
I blame Ben Affleck for everything.