By Katie Klingler 19'
On November 5th, 2017 in a Texas church, Devin Patrick Kelly killed 26 people and injured another 20, aggravating the tension between tech companies and the government. Why? The shooter, who died fleeing the scene, left behind a personal phone which authorities were unable to unlock. This isn’t the first time this issue has made headlines: in the 2015 San Bernardino attack, Apple opposed a court order requiring it unlock the perpetrator’s iPhone. The resulting legal dispute lasted until the government hired a third-party company to unlock the phone for them. No one disputes the government’s right to the information on criminal’s phones, but as encryptions become steadily more challenging to break, the government and tech companies disagree about the companies’ obligation to assist the government’s search. Authorities argue that companies should create “back door” entrances in their encryption codes to allow the government expedient access to the information on a criminal’s phone, while tech companies see creating such access as a violation of their standards, and more importantly, creating a pathway which could put a customer’s personal data at risk. While protecting personal data is important, the time it takes for authorities to access information could be a matter of life or death for innocent Americans. Simply put, it is the company’s responsibility to ensure that their product does not prevent or even delay the government from doing its job. Just because a product is technologically revolutionary does not exempt companies from the same laws that govern each and every American.