The dispute between Apple and the FBI over Apple’s refusal to unlock an iPhone recovered from the San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook marks another chapter in the ongoing battle between privacy and security in the internet age.
While the FBI wants Apple to circumvent the iPhone’s auto-erase mechanism after 10 failed login attempts and has a court order to strengthen its claim, Apple refuses to do so, claiming that such a software could serve as a master key to any iPhone should it fall into the wrong hands. Last week, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook addressed the public in an open letter defending his company’s stance on the matter, saying that following the government’s demands in this case would set a dangerous precedent with respect to the safety of personal data.
While tech companies such as Google and Facebook have voiced their support for Apple in the ongoing dispute, the American public is leaning towards the FBI on the issue. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of adults in the U.S. think that Apple should unlock the perpetrator’s phone while 38 percent think that Apple is right not to cooperate. Even among the company’s faithful, support is tepid at best: 47 percent of iPhone users think Apple should follow the FBI’s orders vs. 43 percent who don’t.
This chart shows where the American public stand on the dispute between Apple and the FBI.