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San Bernardino Shooting

Apple Case Could Unlock a ‘Pandora’s Box’: U.N. Human Rights Chief

The U.N. human rights chief says U.S. authorities "risk unlocking a Pandora's Box" in their efforts to force Apple to create software to crack the security features on its phones, and is urging them to proceed with caution.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein warned in a statement Friday about the potential for "extremely damaging implications" on human rights, journalists, whistle-blowers, political dissidents and others. He said the case is "potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes" and criminal hackers.

The Basic Issues in the San Bernardino iPhone Battle 0:55

Read More: Tech vs. the Feds: Apple Allies Rally in Flurry of New Court Filings

Through the courts, the FBI is trying to force Apple to help crack an encrypted iPhone used by a gunman behind a December shooting spree in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people.

Zeid said the case centers on where the "key red line" should be set to protect people "from criminals and repression."

Read More: Why Are Apple and the FBI Battling Over an iPhone?