Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Backs Apple in FBI Privacy Fight

Mark Zuckerberg, chief exec of Facebook, is the latest tech titan to voice support for Apple in its refusal to help U.S. law enforcement crack a suspected terrorist’s iPhone.

“We’re sympathetic with Apple on this one,” Zuckerberg said, speaking at the Mobile World Congress conference Monday in Spain, according to the Wall Street Journal. “I don’t think requiring back doors into encryption is either going to be an effective way to increase security or is really the right thing to do.”

While Zuckerberg acknowledged that Internet companies have an obligation to help thwart terrorism, he said, “We believe in encryption, and we think that that’s an important tool that honestly people are going to find a way to get anyway.”

In a case with major digital-privacy implications, Apple is refusing to comply with a U.S. federal judge’s order that it assist the FBI in accessing data on an iPhone used by one of the attackers in the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., last December.

Apple CEO Tim Cook last week issued a defiant open letter on the matter, arguing that the Department of Justice wants the company to create a “backdoor” — which does not currently exist — that would threaten the security of millions of iPhones. Apple says it has complied with FBI requests for help in the case as fully as it is able.

In a court filing, the DOJ said Apple’s refusal to comply with the order was driven by concerns over marketing and its business model.

Google and Twitter are among the Silicon Valley firms that are standing with Apple on the issue.

Americans are divided, with most supporting the U.S. government’s position. According to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday, 51% of those surveyed said Apple should unlock the iPhone to assist the ongoing FBI investigation, while 38% said Apple should not in order to ensure the security of other users’ information; 11% did not have an opinion.

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