Between the devil and the deep blue sea

The ongoing saga between Apple and the FBI about unlocking the iPhone used by a terrorist is intriguing. It parallels medicine, having to choose between patient confidentiality and the sense of duty to expose a patient. Fortunately, the teaching would be if the doctor feels that the patient is a danger to society, he/she has a moral duty to report to the authorities.

Conversely, some cases may not be clear cut. Having to wade through the tricky maze is a common task for many doctors. Points raised on either side have their validity and reason.  Confidentiality is a sacred asset  ensuring trust between the patient and doctor. Once this is broken, the doctor will likely no longer have the capability of treating that same patient again.

Ultimately, the duty of a doctor is to “do no harm” to the patient specifically, and others generally. If he can justify either,  confidentiality may have to take a back seat. So to Apple, protecting your customers is key but at the expense of the safety of others, is unjustifiable.

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