I started my career working for the NAACP and later for the ACLU, not exactly everyone’s favorite organizations. I spent most of my career working for an agency that received funding from a generally hostile federal government. While I like any reasonable person am concerned about terrorism, or more specifically terroristic acts of violence in an otherwise civil society, I cannot believe and will not believe that safety must always involve the abandonment of civil rights and civil liberties. The I-Phone at the center of this dispute was purchased by a government agency and provided to a government employee. If I blame anyone for this predicament, it is San Bernardino County for not having a well-written and clearly followed policy concerning personal use of government provided electronic devices.
I am not convinced that any helpful information will be found on the phone. I am more concerned that there are many, many, many cell phones in the custody of law enforcement entities who want to see what’s on the device. So no, a federal court judge should not be able to direct a corporation to create a product to subvert the security devices of telecommunications device. A functional Congress on the other hand, needs to figure this one out, that is their job.