I have to say that I am a bit confused by the brouhaha around Apple’s refusal to help the government gain access to a locked and encrypted cell phone. To my knowledge, no door, lock or safe company has ever been asked to provide backdoor access to their products. And to do so, if asked, would compromise the integrity of both the lock (much has been written on this, Google: “Schneier” to explore this further) and the company in a way that would make both commercially unviable.
That said I believe and support that idea that if the authorities have a legitimate warrant and someone refuses access to their property (house or safe), the authorities have the right to use either finesse or brute force to gain access. At the same time, I believe that an entity, such as Apple, has the right to refuse to assist in the process of breaching the lock, door or safe as that would compromise the integrity of its products and (it has been argued (once again Google: “Schneier”) for bad players to leverage in their efforts to breach the lock.
Further, I don’t believe that there is any difference between a physical and virtual lock as it relates to this discussion and hope that the folks at Apple maintain the integrity of both the locks and the company that they have developed.
Finally, I am astonished that a piece of commercial grade product, like an iPhone, is able to withstand the best efforts of the United States government. Then again, maybe the problem hasn’t been given to the right branch of the government. It wouldn’t be the first time!