With the release of iPhone 5 and its clear success, Apple is making great strides to entrench itself as the most widely used smartphone. What is surprising is that iPhone sales have been strong since release despite the fact that a few weeks prior, it was reported that the FBI may be tracking iPhone users.
According to various news outlets, 12 million iPhone and iPad device identifiers were swiped from an FBI computer by hackers associating themselves with the group Anonymous. Luckily for consumers the hack was meant to expose the tracking that was going on and not to compromise any individual accounts. To further credit this attack, the hackers posted one million unique identification numbers that were verified by a third party.
This begs the question, why is the FBI monitoring and tracking people via their iPhones? On what grounds is this legal? What starts to make things even stranger is the fact that almost a month after this story broke the FBI stated that Android phones, iPhone’s competition, are prone to malware and viruses. Why did the FBI specifically single out Android phones? This statement does give more credibility to the claims made by Anonymous. If the FBI had managed to hack iPhones or make a deal with Apple, it would be in their best interest to get everyone using an iPhone.
This doesn’t mean that people should rid themselves of their iPhones, but it does mean that a critical eye must be placed on the FBI and their actions. Monitoring what people spend their time doing is a step in the wrong direction; a step further from freedom. How can a person be free when their every move is scrutinized? How can someone express themselves when there is the possibility that every word they say, every action the take, can be twisted and used against them? The very technology that is suppose to allow us a new degree of freedom, bring us all closer together, can end up destroying the very foundations of liberty.
One can expect that the reasoning behind this blatant breach of constitutional rights will be to protect the country from terrorists or any other vague evil out there. How much more freedom will be lost to ensure our safety? The FBI has stayed quiet about this hack and the public seems to have grown apathetic. Benjamin Franklin said it best “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”