In Brief

Apple’s battle with the FBI is not about privacy v security, but about legitimacy

The showdown between Apple and the FBI is not, as many now claim, a conflict between privacy and security. It is a conflict about legitimacy.

America’s national security agencies insist on wielding unaccountable power coupled with “trust us, we’re the good guys”, but the majority of users have no such trust. Terrorism is real, and surveillance can sometimes help prevent it, but the only path to sustainable accommodation between technologies of secrecy and adequately informed policing is through a root-and-branch reform of the checks and balances in the national security system.

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