CIO's Take Center Stage in Epic Apple vs. FBI Battle

Information Security: Apple vs. FBI.

It seems as if everyone is choosing a side in the Apple vs. FBI battle over customer data privacy and security. As an organization that understand the comprehensive need for corporate governance standards, this conflict hits right at home. Having a software that is proficient in supporting legal firms and government agencies, you could say that one of our strong suits is in managing sensitive client matter and this is done so with collaborative development of a proactive information strategy.  I will state here that we decline to choose a side to stand on, however, we can begin to take a closer look at how this case can be explored through a governance lens.

Applying an information management solution would require the creation of a corporate governance framework. This is the first step in designing an information governance strategy for your business. There are certain industries where client privacy would weigh in as a significantly more important stakeholder. Industry level heavyweights that rely on strict client data privacy would include: law firms, medical organizations, and banks. The Silicon Valley isn’t often spotlighted in regards to client data breaches whereas JPMorgan Chase, Sony Entertainment, or the 112 million records in the healthcare industry were in hot waters.

The Silicon Valley has been relatively immune to client data breaches due to the autonomy of giant technology companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple, these tech giants take care of themselves and have created in their wake, incredibly secure, privacy driven products and solutions for themselves and their customers. So secure in fact, that government agencies, such as the FBI, are legally asking for assistance in hacking through these encrypted firewalls.

The Wall Street Journal writes that, “CIO’s are at the center of [the] battle over security [and] privacy,” in regards to the public battle between Apple and the FBI. This battle has received extreme scrutiny on both ends, think Snowden’s heroic tweets and President Obama’s full support of the FBI. Apple is an organization that receives a majority of its revenue from product sales and these products are advertised as highly secure and private.

The customers of Apple trust that Apple has their best interest in mind with privacy as one of the largest issues. As a consumer, you don’t want just anyone to be able to access your iPhone if you so happen to lose it. We keep almost everything on our personal mobile devices so that scenario tends to terrify people. When privacy is concerned, everyone is always up in arms. So, what is Apple doing from a governance lens that we should take a closer look at?

Right now we are witnessing something that tends not present itself often to the public. Battles such as these tend to stay within the office of CIO’s and that is where they’re resolved. What is happening now between Apple and the FBI is that the corporate governance policies of Apple is being physically acted out and implemented. As stated earlier, corporate governance policies are created with an information governance framework and Apple’s policies restrict them from aiding the FBI in which they’ve been asked to provide a hacking software that would break into their own product

There is wide concern on whether or not these breaches of privacy could lead to colossal breaches of privacy for all iPhone customers when in the hands of the FBI. Consider that there have been widespread privacy breaches before such as last year’s hacking of 21.5 million US government computers. CIO’s must decide how this situation should be handled and it’s important to consider that there’s no one side in this when it’s your organization involved. Today, we see that Apple had developed a thorough and strict corporate governance strategy regarding customer privacy and security and the FBI request would be considered a breach of policy. As a CIO, what would you do?