Authorities in Apple-FBI case 'risk unlocking Pandora's Box'

    Authorities in Apple-FBI case 'risk unlocking Pandora's Box'

    MArch 6, NY: The top United Nations human rights official today urged United States authorities to proceed with great caution in their legal efforts to break the encryption on an iPhone linked to the investigation into the mass killings in San Bernardino, California, saying the case could have broader implications for digital security and human rights.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement that the ongoing legal process involving the Apple computer company and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) “is not just about one case and one IT company in one country. It will have tremendous ramifications for the future of individuals' security in a digital world which is increasingly inextricably meshed with the actual world we live in.”

    According to reports, on December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in an attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, which consisted of a mass shooting and an attempted bombing. Subsequently, the FBI has requested Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters to access encrypted data.

    Zeid said that the FBI deserves “everyone's full support” in the probe, but that this case is “about where a key red line necessary to safeguard all of us from criminals and repression should be set,” said the UN human rights chief.

    A successful case against Apple will set a precedent that may make it impossible for any other major international IT company to safeguard their clients' privacy anywhere in the world, he warned. This could potentially be a “gift” to authoritarian regimes and criminal hackers.

    “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,” Zeid said.

    The Oslo Times


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