Majority against breaking into encrypted iPhone - 166 participants, 954 responses

Feb 27, 2016

Defying the requests of the FBI and Department of Justice, Apple refuses to create a “backdoor” to access secure data from one of its iPhones. The phone in question belongs to San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook. In February 2016, the Justice Department issued a motion compelling Apple to follow the FBI’s orders, but Apple said unlocking this phone sets a dangerous precedent. On February 27, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should Apple create a way for the FBI to break into the encrypted iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist?”

“Should Apple create a way for the FBI to break into the encrypted iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Participation:

A total of 94% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 6% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 954 responses from 166 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: The majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 74%, opposed Apple creating a way for the FBI to break into the encrypted iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist.

  • “Absolutely not. Anyone advocating for less encryption does not understand the importance of encryption itself.”
  • “No. The bottom line is they will develop a master key and no one’s phone or expectation of privacy will be sacred any longer and the 4th Amendment will cease to exist.”
  • “We should be doing all we can to help the government thwart terrorism; however, it wouldn’t be long before the decryption technology fell into the wrong hands—hackers.”

Yes: A minority, at 24% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were in favor of Apple creating a way for the FBI to break into the encrypted iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist.

  • "When it comes to terrorists phones, YES.”
  • “I'm very confident Apple wouldn't make a phone they could [not] track and/or access if they wanted. So find some way to get the specific info on this specific phone to the investigators and any in the future should be handled in case by case basis only after court order.”
  • “If there's information on that phone that could possibly prevent another attack and save lives, it’s only reasonable.”

Other: As noted above, 6% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Expressing the opinion Apple already possesses the technology in question: “I think that Apple already has the technology—[I] can't see building something if you can't back track it.”
  • Expanding the issue: “Does anyone remember the ‘Promis’ program?”
  • Questioning how the FBI’s request has been made: “If a crime has been committed, a warrant should be used.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Should Apple create a way for the FBI to break into the encrypted iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorist? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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