Nation divided over Apple decision

Apple’s decision to refuse the FBI order requiring the company to unlock a phone used by Syed Farook, one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino shooting, has divided the nation into two camps. Those who support the company believe that the FBI order jeopardizes individual privacy. Others argue that Apple’s challenge threatens national security.

In order to unlock Syed Farook’s iPhone, Apple would have to design a new software that would provide a backdoor through the phone’s security features. That software does not yet exist, and Apple argues it should stay that way.

“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices,” states Tim Cook’s response posted on the Apple website.

The non-profit advocacy group Fight for the Future organized demonstrations across the nation following the Apple decision in order to show solidarity with the company. Evan Greer, the organization’s campaign director, spoke about the importance of encryption in protecting public facilities like hospitals and airports, as well as in assuring the safety of individuals.

“For myself as a member of the LGBT community, I know there are a lot of people that have heightened needs for security. A breach is not just inconvenient or embarrassing, but can put people in threat of physical violence,” Greer said.

Henry Nickel, a San Bernardino city councilman, has the opposing opinion that Apple’s decision is an obstruction of justice. He likens Apple’s refusal to access the contents of Farook’s phone to a landlord’s refusal to unlock a suspect’s door in the face of a search warrant.

“I do not feel that digital data is in any way subject to additional protection from search or seizure than any other aspects of our lives,” Nickel said. “Apple is simply wrong if it believes digital information is somehow more sacred than any other type of information.”

San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis felt similarly. “The attacks on December 2nd was the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since 9/11, and law enforcement officials continue to follow up on leads related to the case… It is my hope that Apple cooperates given the circumstances of this investigation,” he said.

Article via: The Washington Post, 19 February, 2016

Photo: Laughing Squid iPhone Webclip Icon by Scott Beale [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Tech For Justice: Migration Lab Lesbos

Tech For Justice: Migration Lab Lesbos had 4 teams and a total of 16 student developers from diverse backgrounds and skills working on the Tech For Justice problem of “Empowering Refugees in Complex Humanitarian Crises” at the IDHack.

CentRefuge won 2nd place with a $500 award out of nearly 100 students.

Complete problem statement: “Although there are many apps and tech solutions for the current refugee crises available – most of the platforms do not give refugees the ability to communicate their basic needs and also rate the aid organizations available on efficiency. We have access to a database of all of the apps and tech projects currently on the ground in Lesbos, Greece. First, we need to examine their methodology and see which tech solutions might apply. Next, we want to create a simple tool for refugees to request food, water, shelter and also rate local aid organizations, volunteers, and local businesses. We will pilot this system with Migration Lab in Lesbos.”

Team descriptions:

  1. RefugeeAidLesbos

Team members: Ricky Chen, Owen Martin, Jon Atkins, and Ariel Barbieri-Aghib (Tufts)

For more info visit Github

2. BASICS

Teams members: Caroline Caltagirone (Visiting scholar at Harvard University) and Octave Muhirwa (Wentworth Institute of Technology)

For more info visit Github and Presentation

3. Coordinaid

Team members: Adrianna Tan (Wellesley), Sam Chin (Wellesley), Lisa Truong (Wellesley), Shane Skikne, and Annie Ku

For more info visit Github and presentation

4. CentRefuge

Team members: Whitney Fahnbulleh (Wellesley), Ella Chao (Wellesley), Mayrui Sridhar (MIT), Darrien Glasser (UMass Lowell), Amin Manna (MIT)

For more info visit Github and website

Furthermore,

  • You can view the complete list of IDHack2016 project pitches here.
  • To contact the teams please email Danielle Kaidanow – Project Facilitator
  • Although Lesbos was the first region addressed, the solutions are customizable and scalable
  • Demos will take place from 11AM – 12PM on Saturday, February 20th at Tufts

Learn more about the Tech For Justice initiative by visiting their website.

Photo: Somali Refugees in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia via UNICEF Ethiopia [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

 

 

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