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Apple-FBI Case Is `Pandora's Box' Against Human Rights, UN Says

  • UN high commissioner urges U.S. authorities to great caution
  • Terrorist case can be investigated without phone unlocking: UN
An Apple Inc. iPhone 6S smartphone.
Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg

What U.S. courts decide about Apple Inc.’s iPhone encryption risks hurting millions of people’s digital, physical and financial security, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights announced in a statement Friday, adding his voice to those opposing a judge’s order to unlock the phone of a dead terrorist.

While the government wants Apple to write bespoke software that would help unlock an iPhone to aid a criminal investigation, there are other ways to advance the case at hand without undermining the phones’ security features, the UN’s Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein said. Governments, security forces and criminals are among groups that could abuse a security flaw if there is one, he said.