Apple remains one of the most popular companies in the world. Given that its founder and chief icon was an emotional tyrant and frequent a-hole, this mystifies many outside the Apple cult. Yet Apple, with its beloved product line, has continually gotten a pass the public rarely gives a corporate giant. Those Bernie Sanders bros yelling tear down corporate America? They love their iPhones. So do fair labor advocates who have watched Apple factories in China countenance high suicide rates in pursuit of profit. Nude celebrity photos hacked right out of Apple’s cloud? Nary a peep from the victims about Apple’s security; only rage at the perpetrators.
Yet Apple now finds itself in a battle with an enemy it can’t defeat: fear. Specifically, fear of terrorism. Americans’ fear and hatred of terrorists exceeds even their love for Apple. So while Americans talk tough about preserving their freedoms, when it comes to terrorism they’re swift to surrender their rights if it’ll help keep them safe. Apple has made a compelling argument that cooperating with the FBI by unlocking the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone is a slippery slope. But Americans, according to the Pew Research Center, side strongly with the FBI’s request. 51 percent say Apple should unlock the phone for the Feds, while only 38 percent say the company should stand its ground on privacy.