Privacy vs. Security (or Security vs. Security)

In case you missed Apple’s Letter to Customers released recently, it lays out a pretty strong case for why Apple is refusing to work with the FBI to crack an iPhone encryption. The case details are immense, and frankly, somewhat complicated – especially for those without a technical background (if you really care about reading more, check out one of the best analyses I’ve seen by Troy Hunt).

But ultimately, the privacy vs security question isn’t a really a privacy vs security question. It’s a security vs security question.

In other words, do we prefer to be protected from overreach of the government or do we prefer to be protected from independent agents (even within this question, there’s a HUGE assumption that granting the government access will actually keep us safer). In the short term, it’s easy to see guns, bombs, and terrorists as the real threats. In the long term, I’m much more concerned with an overreaching, overpowerful government than with common criminals. Our founding fathers were far more scared of government overreach than they were of outlaws.

Which ultimately begs the question, where do you fall? The way we shape the language around this discussion will ultimately determine the outcome.