The dispute between Apple and the FBI has created an opportunity for security experts in the government and industry to gather around a table. At this stage, all sides need such a group to define the technology and policy issues clearly.
There are a lot of moving parts in both the technological and social aspects of security and privacy. Understanding exactly how companies implement security on client devices and cloud services is as important as refining the line in the digital era between individual rights and public safety.
The current debate has been widespread and lively though, as usual in a democracy, not always focused or informed. For example, a lot of highly prioritized bits have been fired up to argue just whose side Bill Gates is on — a question that really doesn’t matter.
While the press and public debate these issues, we also crave leadership. Experts in technology and law from all sides of the spectrum would do this debate a great service if they would lay out the terrain and the trade-offs in a way the general public can digest them.
In public statements to date, both Apple CEO Tim Cook and FBI Director James Comey suggested forming a commission to lay out the issues. Such an effort would be the best way to move the debate forward in the public square. It could also give everyone from engineers to lawyers deeper insights into their next steps.
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