United Nations Supports Apple; Says FBI Would “Risk Unlocking Pandora’s Box”

UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has warned “Pandora’s box” will be opened if the FBI can force Apple to comply with its demands. Following the San Bernardino shooting, the FBI recovered the shooter’s iPhone and filed a US court order which would require Apple to create a software to break into it. Apple has stated it never intended to create this iOS as the only way to protect data from the software is to never create it. Apple’s list of supporters has been growing with human rights groups and fellow tech companies coming to its defense. Now, the United Nations is standing with Apple too.

Al Hussein said the FBI "deserves everyone's full support" in its investigation. However, he also states that encryption is essential to the interests of freedom.

"There are many ways to investigate whether or not these killers had accomplices besides forcing Apple to create software to undermine the security features of their own phones," he said in a statement.

"It is potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes, as well as to criminal hackers.

"Encryption and anonymity are needed as enablers of both freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to privacy. Without encryption tools, lives may be endangered."

In short, the FBI wants Apple to create a way for the agency to bypass the feature which erases the data on the iPhone after 10 passcode attempts. It also wants to be able to run software that could quickly attempt the thousands of possible passcodes until the iPhone is unlocked. Apple has refused stating that doing so would set a “dangerous precedent.”

The next hearing is scheduled for March 22. Below is the current list of people and groups who have come to Apple’s defense via CultofMac:


• 32 law professors from universities nationwide

• Access Now, a digital-rights organization

• digital-privacy supporter The Wickr Foundation

• software-company advocacy group ACT/The App Association

• local-renting service Airbnb

• group-chatting platform HipChat owner Atlassian

• Automattic, the parent company of WordPress

• web-hosting company CloudFlare

• online auction site eBay

• software-development suite GitHub

• crowdfunding platform Kickstarter

• corporate social-media site LinkedIn

• Mapbox, a mapping app

• blogging platform Medium

• Meetup, a social-gathering app

• link-sharing site Reddit

• person-to-person payment service Square

• Squarespace, a website creation service

• cloud communications company Twilio

• social-media platform Twitter

• instant-message app maker Wickr

• The American Civil Liberties Union, including individual ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, and ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties chapters

• AT&T, a telecommunications company which you may have heard of

• AVG Technologies, a security software company

• data-center service provider Data Foundry

• Golden Frog, a creator of privacy and security software

• lobbying group The Computer & Communications Industry Association

• The Internet Association, another lobbying group

• The Internet Infrastructure Coalition

• trade organization BSA|The Software Alliance

• The Consumer Technology Association

• The Information Technology Industry Council, yet another lobbying organization

• TechNet, an organization of tech-industry CEOs

• open-web supporter Center for Democracy & Technology

• digital-rights group The Electronic Frontier Foundation (along with 46 experts)

• hardware manufacturer Intel

• “iPhone security and applied cryptography experts including Dino Dai Zovi, Dan Boneh (Stanford), Charlie Miller, Dr. Hovav Shacham (UC San Diego), Bruce Schneier (Harvard), Dan Wallach (Rice), and Jonathan Zdziarski” (via Apple)

• research organization The Media Institute

• London-based privacy charity Privacy International

• Human Rights Watch

• nine consumer privacy organizations, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center

• Amazon

• Cisco

• cloud-storage platform Dropbox

• Evernote

• Facebook

• Google

• Mozilla, creator of the Firefox web browser

• Nest Labs

• Pinterest

• Slack

• Snapchat

• WhatsApp

• Yahoo


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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.