Last month in Quantico, Virginia, Jeffery S. Montesano, chief deputy officer of Cornell University Police Department, became a graduate of the FBI National Academy — only the third person from the University to do so.
We call education an “investment,” which typically refers to money spent with the eventual expectation of a return. My rough calculation of the number of students and the average cost of tuition indicates that over $400 billion is “invested” in college every year. For scale, with that money you could own JPMorgan Chase, Facebook or Johnson & Johnson and still have the equivalent of Alaska’s GDP to spare. This week, dozens of parents and administrators were arrested on fraud charges in relation to a sprawling scheme for admission to some of the nation’s top colleges. These parents “invested” six- and seven-figures to cheat on standardized tests and manipulate the athletic admissions process to ensure their children’s acceptance.
In a time when the boundaries of privacy are becoming unclear in technology, the verdicts from the ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI over a terrorist’s locked iPhone will change the field of encryption. A key player in this field is Prof. Stephen Wicker, electrical and computer engineering, who has spoken to Congress and the White House about privacy in today’s world. In this fight, he believes that Apple is correct. On Dec. 5, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, before being killed themselves in the ensuing shootout with law enforcement.
Last semester, I wrote “The War We Are Not Seeing,” a column looking into the complex and unfolding standoff between technology companies and government officials over how to handle encryption for matters of national security. This week, the so-called “war we are not seeing” became very visible to the American public, so I think it’s important to revisit the subject. When we left off in the fall, my hope was that technology companies and federal investigators would work together to achieve a satisfactory balance of privacy rights and national security interests. So much for cooperation. On Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Judge Sheri Pym ordered Apple to comply with the FBI to help unlock an iPhone involved in the San Bernardino terrorist investigation.