I generally try to stay away from politics on this blog since it's such a toxic subject, and the focus of the blog is Apple and it's products. But sometimes things happen and it's impossible to remain silent where politics is concerned.
[ Related: Why Apple is right to fight FBI over iPhone access ]
And so it is with the recent comments by Donald Trump about Apple's resistance to a court order to create a backdoor to the phone of one of the terrorists who murdered people in San Bernardino. Trump has foolishly sided with the government instead of Apple and its customers.
Ian Hanchett reports on Trump's comments for Breitbart:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stated that “we have to” open up the San Bernardino attacker’s phone, adding, “to think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cell phone, who do they think they are?” on Wednesday’s “Fox & Friends” on the Fox News Channel.
Trump said, “I agree 100 percent with the courts. We should — in that case, we should open it up. I think security overall. We have to open it up, and we have to use our heads. We have to use common sense. … But to think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cell phone, who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up.”
When presented with Apple’s claim if there was a backdoor, it would make devices susceptible to hackers, Trump responded, “Apple — this is one case, and this is a case that certainly we should be able to get into the phone. And we should find out what happened, why it happened, and maybe there’s other people involved, and we have to do that.”
Now before anybody starts screaming that I'm a liberal or that I'm biased against Trump, you should know that I've already voted for him in our state's primary. I consider myself a cultural libertarian and I had planned to vote for him in the general election if he wins the Republican nomination. However, his remarks have me rethinking my previous support of him and wondering if I'll be able to vote for him in the general election..
Apple is in a difficult position and needs our support
Apple CEO Tim Cook has wisely and rightly resisted all attempts by the government to force the company to create a backdoor to the iPhone. Cook's admirable stance on privacy rights is not easy nor is it politically expedient, but it is the right thing to do to protect Apple's customers from a government that simply cannot be trusted with such technology.
And the fact that The Donald blithely called for Apple to blindly and foolishly follow the court's order has given me serious pause for thought about him as president. He obviously does not understand the implications of this case for the privacy of millions of people inside these United States.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is firmly on Apple's side, as are many other organizations, as well as millions of Apple's customers. They know what's at stake for all of us if Apple loses the case and is forced to create a backdoor to the iPhone.
If you haven't already, be sure to contact your senators and representatives and demand that they support Apple's position on creating a backdoor to the iPhone. The more the politicians in Washington hear from voters on this, the less likely they will be to pass legislation that removes all digital privacy protections from Apple's products.
Trump took a stick to the Apple hornet's nest and he's going to get stung
I think Trump's comments were absolutely stupid, and they will come back to haunt him in the rest of the primaries, and in the general election if he is nominated by the republicans. As I said earlier, Apple has millions of customers inside the country, and how many will vote for a guy who clearly doesn't give a damn about their privacy?
You can already see the anger Trump's comments have generated in a thread on the Apple subreddit. Here's a selection of messages from that thread:
PeopleNotNeeded: ”I'm sick of hearing about trump to be honest. He's a psychopath in any movie America would be apart of. My vote is not going to that mad man.”
Regeya: ”I don't get the popularity. It seems like he's not running, but that he's playing the WWE version of himself who is running for President.”
BrownsFanz: ”It scares me that he even made it this far, it shows that it's very possible he gets elected.”
Shotwithdiamond: ”Trump isn't a modern liberal conservative or classical liberal. He's a weird cross between an old-school statist conservative, a populist, and a mini-fascist.”
Shredder13: ”Because governments should be telling private companies what to do, right Republican front runner?”
OscarMiguelRamirez: ”"Common sense" sometimes means "knee-jerk first response" which ignores any subtlety or complexity. This is a perfect example of that.”
Itshonestwork: ”...his whole campaign is aimed at idiots as far as I can see. Everything is bad, the blame is outsiders, and he sells himself as the cure. It's like a comic book, or something out of GTA. But then again I saw a Lyrica diabetes commercial when watching my first Superbowl, and it seemed far nuttier than any GTA radio show advert, so maybe that's just how the US is, and why appealing to knee-jerk simpletons is so effective.”
Jsameds: ”No! Who do the government think THEY are, thinking they can snoop on anyone in the world at any time without their permission?!!”
Asliceofkiwi: ”I can't believe people support this guy, after all the stupid remarks he's made. It seriously seems like he started running as a joke, but he's too far in the race that he can't get out without looking bad.”
Plus1zero: ”I like him. But I won't support his stance on this, he tries to comes off as anti-establishment so I don't understand why he's not siding with Apple on this one.”
As you can tell, most people did not appreciate that Trump sided with the government against Apple and its customers. And those folks will be voting in their primaries and in the general election.
Politics aside, it's never a wise idea to piss off Apple's loyal fan base by attacking the company. Hell hath no fury like an Apple user rallying in defense of the Cupertino mothership! Trump has no idea of the sheer size of the political mess he has created for himself by taking on Apple and its customers.
Some might say that they wouldn't have voted for Trump anyway since Apple's customer base arguably tilts more to the left than the right. But let's not forget that there are lots of conservatives, including folks like Rush Limbaugh and other celebrities, who own and use Apple's products. So not everybody who owns an iPhone is a liberal.
Trump uses an Android phone
Some conspiracy theorists might assume that there's some anti-Apple bias in Trump's comments since he apparently uses an Android phone. I don't know if Trump simply dislikes Apple or not, but his comments were clearly a direct attack on the company.
The fact that he uses an Android phone may have played into what he said, but there's no real way to know if Trump was just mouthing off or if he really has an Android-fueled hate-on for Apple. He has indicated previously, however, that he would try to get Apple to build its products inside the US, instead of in China and other countries. So he does seem to have had some prior hostility toward how Apple runs its business.
Trump may have cost himself millions of votes
I suspect that Trump may one day regret his quick remarks about Apple and the phone of the San Bernardino terrorist. He may have made them on the spur of the moment, but he should have paused and considered the implications of what he was saying.
Apple's customers have a very long memory, and his comments won't be forgotten when they go to vote.
Update: Trump is now suggesting a boycott of Apple.
Did you miss a post? Check the Eye On Apple home page to get caught up with the latest news, discussions and rumors about Apple.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?