The protection of individuals' rights goes both ways, the government has an equal (if not greater) right to protect the rights of many people by uncovering details of a terrorist plot than it does of preserving the right to privacy of an individual terrorist. Surely no one can argue that a terrorist's right to privacy is greater than that of several innocent people's right to life? Or right to be protected at the very least? Conceding this, which any logical person must, necessitates that the FBI is correct in at least this isolated case.
The wider question is the idea of precedents. Who precisely does this allegedly set up a precedent for? Does it set one for the FBI so as to prevent them from attempting to uncover more information on terrorists in the future? That hardly seems productive or in line with any cited constitutional rights, its an argument which perhaps stems out of a fear of over surveillance and an uncertainty as to where the power of the government extends to, which is not unfounded, but equally not likely to be relevant here.
The reason I say it's not likely to be relevant is for a few reasons:
1) Tech companies like Facebook, Instagram, Apple and others have far more access to our information through their servers, which contains an abundance of personal information that we willingly (and perhaps sometimes unknowingly) give them. Snapchat recently changes it's privacy policies to allow them to "share information with entities within the Snapchat family of corporations" and even make money of out this:
"grant Snapchat a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license to host, store, use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, create derivative works from, publicly perform, broadcast, distribute, syndicate, promote, exhibit, and publicly display that content in any form and in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)."
If anyone was under the illusion that these companies that bravely took a stance with Apple against the court ruling did so because of some inherent belief in their customers' privacy, I'm afraid that's not likely.
2) The idea of a "right" to privacy presupposes two things at the very least:
a) That an individual has information that they would like to be protected, either because of some feelings on inherent comfort in having ownership of something which is truly "theirs" AND
b) That an individual deserves to have this information preserved, this issue of deserving the right to your own information, which is usually the case but not always
In this case, the San Bernandinho killer is dead anyway, so a) does not apply, and if the phone allows for the FBI to uncover terrorist networks then surely b) is rendered equally irrelevant.
If a person's life is at stake, I think they should be allowed to hack the terrorist's phone. I would rather violate that person's rights than risk the lives of a whole group of people.
But just to point out, if the FBI try to hack it themselves, the iphone locks down after guessing a password wrong too many times,
Apple should be forced to unlock Iphones if requested by the FBI. The agency is there for the public's protection. Apple should support its efforts to keep the public secure. This case is about retrieving information from the phone of a dead shooter who killed many people. His rights are not my main concern.
No, Apple should not be forced to unlock iPhones by the FBI because it could set a bad precedent for privacy invasion by the government. If Apple unlocks the iPhone, the FBI will continue to keep on asking Apple for help to invade a person's privacy in future cases. Other leaders of major companies such as Facebook and Google have voiced their support for Apple's CEO Tim Cook.
In the last twenty or thirty years, the United States has continually moved to impinge further upon the constitutional rights of its citizens, allowing exceptions to the necessary process of acquiring subpoenas and gathering evidence before entering property, seizing documents, and spying on the people. This has to stop. It is the role of the government to protect the people and the courts should side with Apple in this case.
Apple should not be forced to unlock iPhones by the FBI because it would such an unreasonable and dangerous precedent relative to privacy rights. The FBI is a grown-up organization, it can figure out its own way to unlock the phones without further invading the privacy of phone holders. This will ceratinly open the floodgates to abuse.