Public Not Standing Behind Apple in Dispute with FBI

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It’s a split decision on the Apple-FBI standoff.

As tech companies line up behind the device maker — Yahoo on Friday joined several others supporting Apple — the public isn’t so sure. An exclusive USA TODAY poll conducted by SurveyMonkey reveals 51% of 1,093 people polled on Feb. 18-19 support the FBI’s request to unlock the iPhone of Syed Riswan Farook, one of the killers in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings in December.

The Justice Department on Friday filed a motion to compel Apple to comply.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company will fight the request on privacy grounds. On Friday, Apple was granted until Feb. 26 to formally respond in court instead of Feb. 23, as originally requested, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Yahoo on Friday joined Google, Facebook and Microsoft in public support of Apple, which — like those companies — has built its business off the personal data of hundreds of millions of consumers.

“Companies do not want to freak out people about the security of their data,” says Crawford Del Prete, chief research officer at market researcher IDC.

But consumers think security comes first and Apple should be required to unlock the iPhone, according to the SurveyMonkey poll, which has a margin of error of 4%. The results mirror those of similar surveys by CNN and Vrge Analytics, which show public support for the federal government.

Wall Street, meanwhile, remains somewhere in the middle. Shares of Apple (AAPL) are down less than 1% since a federal magistrate’s order late Tuesday on the matter.

“This is a complicated issue,” Del Prete says. “People oppose (digital) backdoors, but there is strong sentiment toward establishing an evidence trail when bad things happen.”

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SOURCE: Jon Swartz
USA TODAY