The government wants Apple to fix the problem and foot the cost, so why bother purchasing antivirus software?
With varying news reports swirling across the internet, it’s hard to get a full grasp on the now-infamous locked iPhone case. Some reports have indicated that the FBI is the one that accidentally locked the San Bernardino shooter’s phone and reset the password by trying too many login attempts. More telling reports have stated the local government agency who issued the phone was actually paying a monthly service charge for remote access to the phone (since it was not the gunman’s personal property, but was issued by his employer) but never got around to setting it up. Would-be politicians have even weighed-in, with US Presidential candidate and media circus favorite Donald Trump calling for a boycott of Apple products until the company complies with the court order.
One thing is for certain, though, and that’s the reaction from consumers. It’s easy to envision millions of customers scrambling to get the content out of their phones on the off-chance that the devices become unlocked. Protests have already been staged outside of Apple stores, with consumers lining up to show their support for the tech company and the outrage at the FBI. And while the public has its own opinion as paying consumers, there’s another entity that should be concerned about the outcome of this case, and that’s software developers.
Interestingly, while Facebook, Google, and Twitter founders and CEOs had expected responses to the issue–that is, to protect citizens’ privacy at the utmost–Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates has spoken out in favor of the FBI, stating that Apple should cooperate in this instance. As a tech company magnate, Gates’ response is surprising, not from a privacy concern but from a profit standpoint.
Since the security software wasn’t installed or being used, the government wants Apple to fix the problem and foot the cost of paying their engineers to do it. What’s to stop any company from refusing to pay for software, then expecting a tech company to fix a problem for free? Why purchase antivirus software, VPN accounts, backup servers, or cloud-based storage when we can simply order the companies to magically correct the problems?
While this issue may not be solved quickly or easily, it will hopefully be an eye-opener to the need for greater access and widespread use of open-source software, especially titles that allow users to contribute to the overall design and function of the software.