Consider all the technologies we think we want — not just better and more useful phones, but cars that drive themselves, smart assistants you control through voice, or household appliances that you can monitor and manage from afar. Many will have cameras, microphones and sensors gathering more data, and an ever-more-sophisticated mining effort to make sense of it all. Everyday devices will be recording and analyzing your every utterance and action. […]
But if Apple is forced to break its own security to get inside a phone that it had promised users was inviolable, the supposed safety of the always-watching future starts to fall apart. If every device can monitor you, and if they can all be tapped by law enforcement officials under court order, can anyone ever have a truly private conversation? Are we building a world in which there’s no longer any room for keeping secrets?
“This case can’t be a one-time deal,” said Neil Richards, a professor at the Washington University School of Law. “This is about the future.”