US Catholic Faith in Real Life

The quest for the missing iPhone

Liz Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

A prototype of Apple’s new iPhone 5 recently went missing, and the company is doing everything in its power to get it back—including allegedly misleading and possibly threatening a suspect.

After the iPhone went missing from a bar in San Francisco, Apple employees electronically traced the phone to the home of Sergio Calderon, who denies any knowledge of the phone, though he admits to being in the bar the night the phone was lost. Six “badge-wearing visitors” appeared at Calderon’s home, none of whom identified themselves as Apple employees; however, it turns out that it was Apple employees and not San Francisco police officers who conducted a search of Calderon’s home. Calderon also says that he was offered $300 for returning the phone with no questions asked. Even worse, Calderon claims that one of the “officers” who searched the house questioned the immigration status of his family, asking if everyone in the house was an American citizen and implying that there could be trouble if the answer was no. The phone was not found in the search.

Obviously Apple is entitled to be concerned about their missing product, especially in light of the fact that something similar happened when a prototype of the iPhone 4 went missing last year. But, Apple should also be concerned with following the law and treating Sergio Calderon with dignity. Catholic social teaching stresses the inherent dignity of all humans—not of all technological devices.

Reading about this story, I couldn’t help but think of this article from The Onion that tells the tale of an iPhone left unattended in a hot car for three hours, poking fun at the “inhuman” treatment of the phone.

"What kind of a human being is capable of such callous disregard for a precious, precious thing?" says one mock-interviewee in the article.

These words have a particular sting in light of Apple’s apparent disregard for Sergio Calderon and his rights in their quest to find the missing phone. As much value as we place on our phones, they will never be living, breathing companions to us. People deserved to be treated as people, and not second-class citizens to technology.