Apple Battles Government Over Customer Privacy and Brand Image

Read the latest about Apple’s legal battle with the FBI and the implications it has on their brand told by the PRSSA Blog Team.

By: Andrew Cornell

Apple is making headlines again, and no, not for announcing a new iPhone or iOS. Apple is currently in a legal battle with the FBI and U.S. government. The tech company is fighting to protect its image as well as the privacy of its customers. The FBI is demanding that Apple help unlock the phone of one of the killers in the San Bernardino attacks this past December. Apple has resisted an order from the U.S. District Court of California that commands the tech company to comply with the FBI investigation to help the bureau unlock the killer’s iPhone to retrieve intelligence.

Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a statement, “A Message to Our Customers” on February 16th ensuring the company’s commitment to the security of customers’ information. Stating, “while we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.” With privacy and security being large components of its brand, Apple is involved in a major Public Relations debacle.


Critics as well as supporters have publicly acknowledged the issue and are discussing whether or not Apple is simply using this as a PR stunt. Mark Bartholomew, a law professor at the University at Buffalo stated “Tim Cook is leveraging his personal brand and Apple’s to stand on the side of consumer privacy in this environment.” The Department of Justice claims that Apple is simply in defiance “based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy.” Apple executives have denied those speculations. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and even the former director of the NSA and CIA, have publicly supported Apple.


The case is ongoing and the consequences for Apple are still unknown. If Apple succeeds in defying the government then it is a big success for the tech privacy world. If not, it puts significant strain on Apple and all tech companies. But one thing is for sure, Apple is doing everything it can to defend the privacy of its customers and ensure the brand image of privacy and security.



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