Apple is losing the PR war with the U.S. government

“Apple needs an upgrade – to its public relations strategy,” Rick Newman writes for Yahoo Finance. “The government, which is investigating hundreds of crimes involving locked iPhones, apparently chose the San Bernardino case as its stalking horse against Apple because it believed the public would be sympathetic to its argument. Apple, normally secretive about its plans and strategies, posted a detailed response to the FBI online. Both sides will have their say in court on March 22.”

“But public opinion matters too, and Apple may be heading for a setback before it ever gets to the courtroom. Some family members of the San Bernardino massacre victims, for example, are siding with the FBI in asking Apple to unlock the phone,” Newman writes. “A new poll by Pew Research shows 51% of Americans agree with the FBI on the matter, while just 38% back Apple. Prominent law-enforcement officials, such as New York police commissioner William Bratton, are mounting common-sense arguments for why Apple should give in. Even Donald Trump weighed in, calling for an Apple boycott until it assists the FBI.”

“Apple has decided to tackle the unenviable job of convincing the public that protecting the privacy of terrorists and criminals is somehow in the public interest. Apple might very well be right; there are many instances in which we tolerate problems because the rules required to prevent them would exact a cost we deem too high,” Newman writes. “The problem for Apple is that it’s relying on a nuanced technical argument in an era of blunt-force populism.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple PR, which could never be described as the swiftest crisis response team in the business, likely isn’t going to win this one. You need an educated populace that understands that eroding liberties is one of the main goals of Islamic terrorists, not a general public where 10% of college graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court and where one in three citizens have never heard of Antonin Scalia.

Idiocracy wasn’t just a movie, it was a prophesy NSFW (Language):

Pew survey: More than half of Americans think Apple should comply with FBI – February 22, 2016
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa on Apple vs. FBI: Very scary when your government wants to know more about you – February 24, 2016
Apple: The U.S. Congress, not the courts, must decide iPhone access fight – February 24, 2016
Apple’s fight with U.S. could speed development of devices impervious to government intrusion – February 24, 2016
Apple to argue that FBI court order violates its free-speech rights – February 24, 2016
Apple, the U.S. government, and security – February 24, 2016
Congressman Ted Lieu asks FBI to drop demand that Apple hack iPhones – February 23, 2016
In the fight to hack iPhones, the U.S. government has more to lose than Apple – February 23, 2016
Here are the 12 other cases where the U.S. government has demanded Apple help it hack into iPhones – February 23, 2016
John McAfee blasts FBI for ‘illiterate’ order to create Apple iPhone backdoor – February 23, 2016
Some family members of San Bernardino victims back U.S. government – February 23, 2016
Apple supporters to rally worldwide today against U.S. government demand to unlock iPhone – February 23, 2016
U.S. government seeks to force Apple to extract data from a dozen more iPhones – February 23, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: They’d have to cart us out in a box before we’d create a backdoor – February 22, 2016
Tim Cook’s memo to Apple employees: ‘This case is about more than a single phone’ – February 22, 2016
Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone – February 17, 2016


    1. Can you provide a link to the actual questions asked in the Pew poll? I haven’t been able to find them online anywhere. As I posted in an earlier thread, it would be very revealing to see the phrasing and order of the actual questions asked.

  1. “where 10% of college graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court and where one in three citizens have never heard of Antonin Scalia.”

    What makes it even sadder (at least to me, as a foreigner) is that I know several fellow foreigners who can name at least five American Suppreme Court justices (and a few of us can name them all). This isn’t just rote memorisation; people read world news, and they discover other cultures. Where I come from, this is known as ‘general knowledge’ — you try to learn about the world beyond the screen of your iPhone…

      1. I wouldn’t say that Americans are lazy. I know many of them, and they often tend to be very hard working and entrepreneurial.

        It is quite dangerous to generalise / stereotype an populateion of over 330 million. Having said that, what Americans may lack is the desire to broaden their general knowledge. They make very good experts in fairly narrow fields. The focus of STEM education is a logical cause, but other factors contribute, a major one being the fact that America is a one large country, occupying most of one large continent, with two rather inconsequential physical borders with neighbours, and as a consequence, never in modern history had to fight an armed conflict on its own soil (Pearl Harbour notwithstanding). Being self-sufficient and physically so isolated from others tends to mute any potential curiosity about the rest of the world, the kind that exists by necessity among all those smaller individual nation states around the world. When you are a land-locked European country bordering five others, who over the past two centuries fought vicious wars across your lands, you are strongly motivated to learn about all those that surround you.

        1. “very hard working and entrepreneurial”

          That’s not what was meant by his use of lazy… he meant content in their complacency. While many are willing to work hard, thinking hard is a different matter altogether. It is lazy to accept sound bites and headlines as fact without doing any further research. It’s even worse when the ignorant masses form an uneducated opinion and take the “air waves” condemning something they know nothing about.

          A lot of the opinions I see are biased made by people who clearly don’t like Apple anyway. They only see the surface, because that’s enough to reinforce their opinion of the company (or Tim Cook). They have no interest in taking a deeper look at the issue.

          That’s not only lazy, but extremely ignorant.

    1. “I know several foreigners” honestly doesn’t mean anything. I’m from California but live in Eastern Europe now and people’s knowledge depends on the quality of their sources. Unfortunately CNN and other far left outlets are the dominant sources of US news for much of Europe. What does it matter if a German can list all of the Supreme Court justices when he’s allowing his country and culture to be invaded and dominated by millions of illegal aliens? I have no problem with the average American, it’s the decadent and evil political class that I have a problem with and look forward to decimating in the November election.

      1. Yahoo has fallen a long, long way from when they were one of the premier Internet companies back in the late 90s.

        But then what should we expect when it is run by an ex-Google person. Clearly she agrees that privacy as well as safeguards against malicious attacks is irrelevant to those who ant our data.

  2. Apple’s global market is larger than their domestic market—this is a global issue, not one restricted to the USA, and has profound ramifications in the larger world theatre.

    “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.” — Adolph Hitler: Mein Kampf, 1925

  3. With all the money Apple has, they should be working the US government the same way Monsanto and big oil do.

    But they won’t, for the same reason they won’t fix their products.

  4. Not knowing the context, I would agree with the FBI too. Apple should help unlock information on a phone that belonged to a terrorist that could help with an investigation.

    Knowing the context, I side with Apple. Here’s the context: government agencies has spent the last 10+ years abusing technology to spy on its citizens without any warrant or oversight. Because Federal Government agencies ignores the Constitution in these matters, encryption is the only method available to the public to protect privacy on electronics. The suspect in this particular case is already dead, and destroyed their computer and personal cell phone, which makes it very unlikely that information on this dead man’s work issued cell phone is relevant to the investigation. The government is doing this, not to pursue this investigation, but to create both a legal precedent and a software tool to help it undermine iPhone’s near unbreakable encryption. This advanced encryption was only made publicly available by Apple because the of government agency’s unwillingness to uphold people’s fundamental Constitutional rights to privacy.

    I’m not worried about that 51% figure. Fundamental rights are not subject to popular vote. The Founders of United States set up a Constitution and multi-branch government to protect individual rights, not just from tyrants, but also from the whims of an uninformed populace. There’s nothing unusual about a majority of the population being wrong about fundamental right. Often, they are under-informed or unsympathetic toward minorities.

  5. There are no IQ requirement to be a US citizen; you just have to be born there. With the education system under attack in the US and more and more citizens woefully under educated, it is no wonder that the population is so easily swayed by Donald Trump. You get what you deserve.

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