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Most Americans Don't Support Apple In Its Fight With FBI

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Casey Williams

In the showdown between Apple and the FBI, Americans seem to be siding with the government.

Apple is resisting an order to help the bureau unlock an iPhone that belonged to a suspect in the San Bernardino, California, terror attack -- and more people think the company should comply with the feds' request than continue to fight it, according to reports from the Pew Research Center and polling website Survey Monkey. 

Only 38 percent of Pew's respondents say Apple should not help investigators access data stored on the phone, while 51 percent think it should:

Survey Monkey's data shows roughly the same results, with just over 40 percent of Americans supporting the tech giant and about half siding with the FBI:

Pew surveyed around 1,000 Americans, and Survey Monkey polled almost 2,000.

More than 50 percent of Survey Monkey's respondents said they were concerned the government would not go far enough to defend national security in this case -- which makes sense, considering past polling that found a majority of Americans support government efforts to collect personal data in the course of terrorism investigations. Just 46 percent of the Survey Monkey participants said they were concerned the government would go too far.

Some victims of the San Bernardino attack have also sided against the iPhone maker. Reuters reported Monday that several planned to file a joint amicus brief supporting the government's effort to compel to Apple to unlock the phone.

But, notably, the mother of one victim has defended Apple's position. “This is what separated us from communism, isn’t it? The fact we have the right to privacy,” Carole Adams -- whose son Robert Adams, an environmental health specialist, died in the mass shooting -- told the New York Post last week.

Apple's showdown with the FBI has reignited a bitter debate about the role tech companies should play in helping law enforcement obtain data about terror suspects.

The company publicly refused last week to create a "backdoor" into its iOS software that would help the FBI access password-protected data on a phone used by Syed Farook, one of the two San Bernardino shooting suspects.

The Justice Department has since filed a motion seeking to compel Apple to comply, labeling its resistance a "marketing strategy." In response, Apple called for the formation of a government commission on data privacy.

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