Guns seized during TSA screening during the week Feb. 5 to 11, 2016.
Guns seized during TSA screening during the week Feb. 5 to 11, 2016.

What's always true, no matter what we choose to believe, is that our customers put us in the business we're in, not the other way around.

At least some of why home builders' customers, one by one by one, put a home building organization into the business it's in owes to a trace-element, primal need among us humans for something we call "safety."

A more recent evolutionary construct for value, neuroscientists may avow, but hardly less compelling these days is a notion called "privacy," which correlates in some ways to the safety of our person, as in our person's privately held details or data.

To be safe, one might say, would be to have our person--including risks to its well-being and capacity to function as a free, going-concern part of society--secured from threats, risks, attacks that damage our person.

Home builders are in this game, either explicitly or implied by the development, design, engineering, and operations of the homes and communities they make.

Which makes the headlines around Apple's refusal to allow Federal Bureau of Investigation officials to retrieve data from a terrorist's iPhone an especially meaningful area for high-level and committed preparation, discovery, conviction, and action in home building and residential development.

Now, the TSA screens some 400 million would-be airlines passengers each year. The TSA reports that last week, February 5 to 11, 2016, 51 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags around the nation. Of the 51 firearms discovered, 47 were loaded and 20 had a round chambered.

Now, almost 400 million of us voluntarily give up our more evolutionarily recent right and value around privacy, and allow ourselves to be screened, radiated, patted, and prodded, so that we and those around us can agree that we're all safer because of it. Can our need for privacy cancel our chances of remaining safe?

At some point, we all--in industry, society, technology, culture, community, and even in isolation--may agree that privacy and safety may need to be separated out as discrete values. To some extent, now Apple's plans to battle Federal Agencies and take its claim that protecting its customers' privacy trumps our appointed and elected officials' claim that privacy's broad-brush can protect and secure the privacy of terrorists as a going-concern, is the kind of game-changer that makes us all a critical stake-holder in the outcome of the debate.

Our customers put us in this business of making homes that are safe. Too, their purchase decisions put us in this business of protecting our private business--our access to our financial resources, sensitive health information, personal issues--from those who'd do us harm by its seizure and illegal use.

So, we're in this debate, like it or not. I personally am not so sure I like Tim Cook's chances of keeping my privacy secure any more than Uncle Sam could.

Stay tuned.