Blake Ross, Firefox wunderkind, has the best analogy for the Apple versus the FBI debate.

There is a slim chance that there is data on a terrorist’s work phone, and the FBI wants Apple to allow a backdoor key.

An airline pilot locks the other pilot out so he can crash the plane into a mountain, and the airlines don’t add a backdoor key to the cockpit door.

They understand that there are too many bad people trying to get in, and it’s so rare that a good person is trying to get in that it’s not worth risking security with a backdoor key.

The security we encounter every day — when it works at all — is usually built out of shades of gray: Lock your door. Need more? Arm your alarm. Even more? Don’t feed Fido for a day. Marginal benefits, marginal costs.

It’s easy to assume that digital security is just another spectrum, and politicians love to reinforce that — gray’s their favorite color. Every presidential candidate is offering the same Michael Scott solution: Let’s preserve everyone’s security at once! Give a little here, take a little there, half-pregnancies for all.

Unfortunately it’s not that complicated, which means it’s not that simple. Unbreakable phones are coming. We’ll have to decide who controls the cockpit: The captain? Or the cabin? Either choice has problems, but — I’m sorry, Aunt Congress — you crash if you pick 2.

Blake Ross