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Ouch! Apple’s free publicity could backfire

Ira Winkler | Feb. 24, 2016
Apple is trying to position itself as a staunch defender of citizens’ privacy. But when you extend its arguments to their logical conclusion, it comes out looking like the company is incapable of protecting its secrets.

What we have here is really a policy issue about the level of cooperation that law enforcement can force upon software vendors. I am not taking sides on that issue; while Apple clearly has a responsibility to take reasonable steps in the interest of its business, I expect the government to win. But I don’t know that that is the better outcome. What I do know is that Apple is attempting to generate unreasonable fear, uncertainty and doubt to sway people to its position.

But Apple, seeming to take a page from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is using the situation to promote its brand with free advertising. I have to assume that the slump in iPhone sales will improve, given how the government implies that the iPhone is so secure, it needs Apple’s to help it compromise it. Luckily for Cook, so far few people realize that he is arguing that Apple can’t keep its software secure.

Ira Winkler is president of Secure Mentem and author of the book Spies Among Us. 


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