Apple’s Ethical Dilemma

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Apple’sEthical Dilemma

Apple’sEthical Dilemma

of Theories


Utilitarianismtheory divulges that something is good and moral only when theresults are of fundamental benefit to the people. Primarily, thistheory tends to ask if indeed a particular course of action is moralor immoral, god or bad to the people. Any actions that make peoplehappy and satisfied are considered to be good and valuable to theirlives under utilitarianism (Timmons, 2013). It advocates for themaximization of utility as the greatest principle that brings abouthappiness. Therefore, it approves or rejects any action on the basisof the consequences it brings about. To a larger extent,utilitarianism seeks to determine the authenticity of the rules ofconduct of a person or individual.


Accordingto Hooker (2012), deontology theory focusses on the relationshipbetween the morality of human actions and the duty. It recognizesthat some actions are acceptable regardless of the consequences theybring to the people. Deontology is concerned with whether an actionis right or wrong and not take sides on which is best in a givensituation. It holds the view that no matter how morally good somechoices may be considered to be, they may be forbidden. Indeontology, what matters most is the action taken and not necessarilythe consequences that come as a result of an action. It is the meansthat justifies the end in deontology as opposed to utilitarianismwhereby it is the end that justifies the end.

TheEthical Dilemma Found in the Case

Appleis overly concerned with the involvement of security agencies in itsaffairs. It believed that by the encryption employed on its gadgetswas a way of ensuring that the right to customer privacy isguaranteed. Despite the fact that the move would be a source of thesecurity breach, the company believes that it has the moralobligation of maintaining customer privacy. Therefore, the casepresents an inherent ethical dilemma for the company on whether tomaintain its customers` privacy or to give in to the securityagencies demand of maximizing security. The aspect of securityprovision is fundamentally not the responsibility of Apple, and thatwould not justify the need to compromise its customers` privacy. Bothsafety and privacy are paramount as far as the company is concerned.However, privacy is more important for the customers, and allowingthe government to access vital information through phones would bedetrimental to their private life. Creating a backdoor to theproducts of Apple would result in unprecedented ramifications to therights and freedoms of privacy that the government ought to take careof. Balancing the two aspects of security and privacy is whatelicits disagreements, as it is considered impossible.

ApplyingEach Theory in the Ethical Dilemma


Everycompany should comply with the government`s regulations to ensurethat it maintains high ethical and moral values to the consumers andemployees, as stated by Shaw (2016). Therefore, Apple should havebeen more considerate in ensuring that its actions do not contradictthe role of government. It should be steadfast in making sure thatits programs are attractive to all the concerned parties. Theutilitarian view of this case is that by Apple safeguarding theprivacy of the customers. It would be a significant accomplishment ofApple since it would bring them happiness. The shareholders andemployees would also benefit from the actions of the company,although they would be negatively affected if the government decideto interfere with the software system of Apple.

DeontologyTheory Explanation

Anydecision taken by Apple would have been justified to make anydecision whether it would lead to positive or negative outcomes inthe long-run. What should have been critical for the company is toput into consideration the fact that conflict of interest with thegovernment would be unavoidable this is because any actions that goagainst the views of the government are considered to be illegal andunethical. Therefore, allowing the government to intrude to itssystem, Apple would compromise the right of privacy of its customers,shareholders and employees. From deontology point of view, any actiontaken by Apple would be justifiable whether any of the parties wouldbe on the losing or winning side. The views of either party would notin any case influence the decisions and actions of the company as theconsequences would not be its primary focus.

Outcomesof Each Theory


IfApple Company decides to focus its strategies based on theutilitarianism theory, more customers would be impressed since moreefforts would be applied to secure their privacy. Everybody would behappy, delighted and satisfied when the government is barred fromaccessing their information. They would consider it valuable usingthe Apple phones, despite the negative impacts on security that themove would bring about. For Apple to ensure that everyone issatisfied, it would not have relented on its assertions to withholdkey details regarding the software encryption. However, the showdownwith the government would only be resolved if Apple decided toencrypt the phones in such a way that they cannot be used tointerfere with the security.


Deontologicaloutcomes would not necessarily seek to ensure that the outcome isgood or unsuitable for the parties involved. Therefore, it is morelikely that the government would win and maintain that the companyshould adhere to the set rules of ensuring that security isprioritized. Therefore, the privacy of the customers would eventuallynot be guaranteed since the main focus would be to ensure the safetyof all citizens. It implies that to implement this outcome thecompany would do as per the instructions and advice of the governmentnot to encrypt the phones any longer.


Hooker,B. (2012). Developingdeontology: New essays in ethical theory. Malden,MA: Wiley, Blackwell.

Shaw,W. H. (2016). Businessethics. Boston,MA Australia: Cengage Learning.

Timmons,M. (2013). Moraltheory: An introduction.Lanham, Md.: Roman &amp Littlefield Publishers.