As the FBI and Apple continue to fight in court over whether the tech giant should help unlock a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Americans about evenly divided, with a slightly greater number backing the iThing maker.
Forty-seven percent of respondents said that Apple should not cooperate with a Justice Department request to build a piece of software that would bypass security features on Syed Farook’s iPhone 5C. Forty-two percent of those interviewed said Apple should cooperate with the request in the ongoing case.
The poll was conducted between March 3 and 6, and interviewed 1,200 registered voters. The margin or error was 2.83 percent.
Pollsters approached people with two statements: Should Apple cooperate “because this is an issue of national security,” and the “government should have access to all information available”? Or, should the company not help the FBI because the Justice Department would want to use it in other non-national security cases, and because the tool “might make it easier for hackers or foreign governments to steal data"?
The case has ignited widespread public interest, with law enforcement officials, Apple, and members of Congress all saying there should be more discussion about the proper balance between digital security and the interests of investigators. The government is expected to file a response to Apple in court on Thursday.