POSTED December 22, 2017
In early 2016 the FBI received a court order instructing Apple to make software to allow the Bureau to obtain evidence from a device that could’ve been used to organize the San Bernardino shooting; Apple refused to comply. The response from the majority of Americans was, “Good, I don’t want the government being able to have access to my phone, it’s an invasion of privacy.“ People do have the right to be skeptical of their government and be worried about their privacy. However, the problem with this mentality is it puts more trust in a company designed to make a profit over their own government created to serve and protect the rights of its people.
Apple claims they believe enabling a backdoor would create an invasion of privacy, and in the wrong hands, it could jeopardize the security of all their devices. The reality is this decision isn’t Apple’s to make, the federal government has decided that catching terrorists is more crucial to national security than someone being able to read the text messages sent from your iPhone. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t agree with their government believing their precious iPhone is more important than their safety. Scott Galloway a professor of marketing and founder of L2, a business intelligence firm, says, “our new Jesus Christ is Steve Jobs… We’ve decided the iPhone is the most holy object. Someone gets thrown into a car you can get a court order to check that car but don’t try to search the iPhone that’s holier… Apple is the most profitable company in the world, and they deserve that, but they’ve decided privacy laws no longer apply to them.” (Galloway Sept. 28th, 2017) No matter what Apple claims it’s clear their decision was at least somewhat backed by their fear that making their phones less secure would decrease stock price and drive sales down.
These corruptive tactics don’t just apply to Americans and Apple. Last June the European Union fined Google 2.4 billion Euros (2.7 billion U.S. dollars) for breaking its antitrust laws. The Commission ruled that Google was denying its consumers any choice by banishing certain sellers to the third or fourth page. This fine is one of the largest in world history, but according to the Wall Street Journal this fine actually equates to a 25 cent parking ticket when you look at the overall company’s massive revenue; if Google chooses not to comply in time the fine will increase. However small fines like this send out a message to Google and other tech superpowers that the cheaper thing to do is to keep breaking laws and paying the small fines until called out for it. Google so far has agreed to comply with their ruling but with a 92% market share in search, it’s too little too late. Google already possess a monopoly in the most influential market today answering over 90% of our questions.
There will always be corporations using unethical tactics to make a profit and there have always been government regulations to stop that. But now citizens are identifying more with a brand then they are with their nationality choosing a company over the constitution. What happens when American citizens are more willing to stand in line for a glowing apple then they are to stand for their own flag? What happens when we will stand up for the rights of a company but not the rights of ourselves? In a world where brand loyalty is at an all-time high and national identity is at an all-time low and tech superpowers find it cheaper to break laws and keep paying the small fines than it is to comply with the government all we can ask ourselves is: What happens?