Apple faces a hearing in the government's demand that it help the FBI break into a terrorist's iPhone. The company says bigger issues are at stake. What do you say? Please vote.

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A federal magistrate has ordered Apple to help the FBI hack into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino massacre terrorists. Apple CEO Tim Cook declined in a strongly worded letter, saying this would mark “an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers.”

His specific concern is that the government is asking for the creation of a “backdoor” that could be used against anyone, even without a warrant.

The battle has a bit of he said/she said, at least as far as the Associated Press tries to thread the needle. But tech security specialist Bruce Schneier, writing in the Washington Post, lays out a careful explainer while ultimately siding with Apple.

“What the FBI wants to do would make us less secure, even though it’s in the name of keeping us safe from harm,” he writes. “Powerful governments, democratic and totalitarian alike, want access to user data for both law enforcement and social control. We cannot build a backdoor that only works for a particular type of government, or only in the presence of a particular court order.”

That doesn’t keep many Americans from seeing terrorism as the No. 1 concern. Since 2001, they have supported extraordinary expansion of government power via the Patriot Act and other laws.

So pull out your (cough-cough) secure device and make a binary choice:


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Who would want Yahoo?

The punctuation has changed

And much else besides