The Apple-FBI case: the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights voices concern


The debates arising from the Apple-FBI case continue, drawing interest from an increasing number of parties. 

On Friday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a press release urging the US authorities to consider both sides of the privacy vs. national security argument very carefully, because of the potential impact that a decision against Apple could have for the human rights of people around the world.  

The High Commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, has highlighted that encryption and anonymity are invaluable in the fight for freedom of expression and the right to privacy.  Whilst noting that the FBI deserves support, he has stated that if a Government has the ability to break through the encryption on its citizens' phones, this "may lead to the persecution of individuals who are simply exercising their fundamental human rights" around the world.

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“A successful case against Apple in the US will set a precedent that may make it impossible for Apple or any other major international IT company to safeguard their clients’ privacy anywhere in the world,” the UN Human Rights Chief said.  “It is potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes, as well as to criminal hackers. There have already been a number of concerted efforts by authorities in other States to force IT and communications companies such as Google and Blackberry to expose their customers to mass surveillance.”