TechWeek Readers Back Authorities Over Apple In Encryption Battle

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Poll: 54 percent of readers say law enforcement agencies should be able to access phone data – but most say only in issue of national security

TechWeekEurope readers have backed law enforcement agencies in their ongoing battle with smartphone manufacturers to gain powers to access the content of suspect’s mobile devices – so long as it is a matter of national security.

According to the results of our recent poll, 46.9 percent of respondents said manufacturers should not be forced to unlock devices for government agencies, compared to 54.1 percent who said yes.

However just 12.6 percent said devices should be unlocked in any instance, with 40.5 percent stating such powers should only be reserved for emergencies.

Poll encryption

Poll Apple Encryption ChartApple has refused to even entertain the idea of creating code that would break the encryption of iOS in its very public battle with the FBI, which wants to be able to access data on an iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook as part of an investigation into the San Bernadino mass shooting.

The FBI said it would only use the code for this particular instance, but Apple said even the very existence of such a measure would fatally undermine the security of its products, damage the relationship with its customers and could be used in multiple instances.

Indeed, court documents have shown Apple has been asked on numerous occasions to unlock its devices, evidence which appears to suggest such code would not be used for a one-off.

However the FBI has now said it has ‘cracked’ the iPhone in question independently of Apple and has ended its court battle. The case could have had huge implications for encryption and privacy, but for now at least, we’ll never know what the outcome would have been.

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