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UN Human Rights Commissioner Backs Apple in Fight with FBI

Apple got some more high-ranking support in its fight with FBI Friday: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement that the feds shouldn’t force Apple to help them to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

“In order to address a security-related issue related to encryption in one case, the authorities risk unlocking a Pandora’s Box that could have extremely damaging implications for the human rights of many millions of people, including their physical and financial security,” Zeid said.

He went on to argue that there are many other ways to investigate the case at hand that wouldn’t include unlocking the phone, and cautioned that the FBI may inadvertently set a legal precedent in other countries as well, writing: “It is potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes, as well as to criminal hackers.”

Al-Hussein is just the latest backer of Apple as the company aims to overturn a court verdict that would force it to help the FBI unlock Farook’s iPhone. On Thursday, dozens of companies, civil liberties organizations and individuals filed amicus briefs in support of Apple’s position. Some of the companies that came to Apple’s defense included Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AT&T.

However, a few companies stopped short of officially coming to Apple’s defense. Longtime mobile device competitor Samsung stressed the importance of privacy and argued against government backdoors, but told Bloomberg that it wasn’t going to file an amicus brief. And Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said earlier this week that his company is not taking sides on the case.

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