If we relinquish our phones, how long until the police want to decrypt our minds?

Over recent weeks the FBI has been attempting to legally compel Apple to help them access an iPhone belonging to a suspected terrorist. This is, it appears, one of a number of similar endeavours in what is and will continue to be a larger effort by the FBI and other intelligence agencies to ensure they can access the increasing variety of devices that many of us now have. 

Having just won a similar case Apple seem in a strong position to resist further legal arguments that would have compel them to provide assistance in this and comparable cases not least because it would require them to undermine the security of its own products – the consequences of which are succinctly [summarised by this cartoon] by Stuart Carlson.

Extended mind

Drawing on the extended mind thesis first put forward by Andy Clarke and David Chalmers, philosopher Matthew Noah Smith [has argued] that iPhones can be considered an extension of our minds. First, the way we using them to store information can be seen as an expansion of our memories. Not only do we use them to record information - photos, shopping lists and passwords - that we either cannot or do not wish to memorise they can now automatically present us with that information according to spatial, temporal and cybernetic prompts - we are reminded about meetings in a timely fashion, to pick up garlic when near the supermarket and our passwords are provided automatically when we log-in to a wide variety of sites.