March 21, 2016
In a letter to customers on February 16, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that his company would not willingly override the security features of an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino mass shooters, defying a court order obtained by the FBI. This case has become the highest profile contest in the wider debate over the ability of law enforcement agencies to access data on encrypted smartphones in the course of their investigations. At issue is the practice of end-to-end encryption, where not even the device manufacturer retains the key to decrypt communications for law enforcement. However, pitting investigators against technology companies will not effectively balance cybersecurity with public safety. Device manufacturers, law enforcement, and policymakers must work together to determine the end goals of encryption and how to best accomplish those goals.