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Pew Survey: 51% Of Americans Say Apple Should Unlock San Bernardino iPhone
Even iPhone owners show high support, 47% favoring unlocking to 43% who do not.
When it comes to the balance between privacy and security, more Americans seem to favor security, according to a new Pew Research poll about whether Apple should unlock an iPhone for the US Department of Justice.
The phone in question was used by Syed Farook, one of the two assailants in the San Bernardino shootings. The DOJ wants Apple to create a version of its iOS software that would let it quickly test various passcodes to break into the phone. Apple has pushed back, claiming this would effectively be a backdoor that would potentially weaken security for anyone with an iPhone.
Pew just released the results of a survey of 1,002 adults in the United States, conducted from February 18–21. It found that 51 percent believe that Apple should help the Department of Justice, while 38 percent say it shouldn’t and 11 percent don’t know.
Both Democrats & Republicans Favor Unlocking
The survey also found high support regardless of major political party: 55 percent of Democrats favored Apple helping to unlock the phone; 56 percent of Republicans did. Among Independents, 45 percent favored unlocking to 42 percent who did not.
Even Millenials Show Strong Unlocking Support
All age groups other than 18–29 showed a total majority supporting unlocking. Those 65 and older were highest, with 54 percent in favor. Those 30–49 and 50–64 supported unlocking at the same rate, 51 percent. For those 18–29, more — 47 percent — supported unlocking versus 43 percent who did not.
In terms of education level, those with “some college” education but not a diploma showed the highest support for unlocking, 56 percent. Those with college or postgraduate college degrees showed less but still strong support, 45 percent and 47 percent, respectively. Those with high school education or less supported unlocking at 50 percent.
Even Strong Unlocking Support By iPhone Owners
When analyzed by type of phone owned, 50 percent of smartphone owners supported unlocking. Those without smartphones supported unlocking at a higher rate, 53 percent.
In terms of brand of phone owned, those with a non-Apple smartphone supported unlocking at 53 percent. iPhone owners themselves showed strong support for unlocking, 47 percent, versus 43 percent who did not.
Postscript (Feb. 24): A new Reuters poll is out showing the opposite, with more supporting the phone not be unlocked.