Poll: Country still divided over Apple-FBI feud

Poll: Country still divided over Apple-FBI feud
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Americans remain largely split over Apple’s defiance of an FBI court order to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

After weeks of intense back and forth between the two sides, public opinion does not seem to have have shifted to either camp.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows 42 percent of Americans believe Apple should cooperate with the FBI’s request, while 47 percent believe the tech giant should refuse.

Apple’s biggest support came from independents, who tilted 58 percent in support of Apple’s stance. Only 28 percent on independents believed the tech giant should comply with the court order.

Americans were also mostly divided over whether they feared the government would “go too far” in its surveillance activities in order to catch potential terrorists.

Forty-seven percent said they worry the government “will not go far enough,” while 44 percent said they fret that authorities “will go too far.”

The survey canvassed 1,200 registered voters and was conducted from March 3 to 6. The margin of error is 2.83 points.

The results show public perception remains roughly where it was when Apple initially rebuffed the order about a month ago.

Two surveys conducted in the immediate aftermath of Apple’s decision found that about half of Americans believe Apple should help authorities bypass the iPhone’s security features.

Other polling has shown that support for Apple changes based on how the case is described, potentially pointing to the complicated and technical nature of the standoff.

The FBI is asking Apple to create software that would disable a failsafe measure that wipes the phone after an incorrect password is entered 10 times in a row. Such a change would allow investigators to hack into the phone.

The case has become the most high-profile example of a larger debate over government access to encrypted data.

The FBI and law enforcement officials warn that criminals and terrorists are increasing using encryption to hide from authorities, or “go dark.” They have pushed for some type of guaranteed access to these communications.

But the tech community and privacy advocates have resisted such calls, arguing that ensuring access weakens global security and threatens online privacy.