Building a "Backdoor" to the iPhone: An Ethical Dilemma
In February 2016, Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive officer, challenged a U.S. Federal Court order for Apple to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a case involving suspected international terrorism. The government wanted Apple to provide the FBI with access to encrypted data on an Apple product, the iPhone. Cook's refusal to acquiesce to the government's demands drew strong public debate, pitting the proponents of national security against those in favour of customers' digital privacy and security. The case invoked an ethical dilemma faced by management in issues involving right-versus-right decisions. Which right should Cook choose? What are the ethical dilemmas involved in making this decision? How should Cook resolve the dilemma? Tulsi Jayakumar is affiliated with SP Jain Institute of Management & Research.