Apple vs. FBI: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders aren’t taking sides

When Apple said this week it would oppose a magistrate court’s order to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, Republican presidential candidates immediately slammed the company.

Thursday night, we heard from the other side, during the Democratic presidential candidates’ town hall on MSNBC. And they weren’t so resolute.

“I see both sides, and I think most citizens see both sides,” Hillary Clinton said. “We don’t want privacy and encryption destroyed, and we want to catch and make sure there’s nobody else out there whose information is on the cell phone of that killer.”

The San Bernardino shooting in December killed 14 people and injured 22 others. The FBI, which says the killers were influenced by the Islamic State, is trying to unlock the iPhone of Syed Farook, which is protected by a passcode.

“There has got to be a balance,” Bernie Sanders said. “But count me in as someone who is a very strong civil libertarian who believes we can fight terrorism without undermining our constitutional rights and our privacy rights.”

Clinton called the whole thing “a very hard dilemma,” and acknowledged one of the problems Apple CEO Tim Cook brought up in his letter explaining his position: that creating a backdoor could open up the iPhone to security threats from elsewhere, including, as Clinton said, the Chinese, Russian and Iranian governments.

But is there a middle ground? The government says it’s not asking for a master key, just help with this one phone. Apple says complying with the order would be a slippery slope that would endanger the privacy and security of iPhones in the future.



Photo: Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, left, and Bernie Sanders during the town hall on MSNBC Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (John Gurzinski/AFP/Getty Images)


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  • DoctorJay

    If Apple can help the US, it can also help Putin, or the Chinese government, or for that matter ISIS. We need to look at the bigger picture.

    • If they do help those other guys, the U.S. can make it very, very costly for them.

      • Bill Povse

        The FBI should write the software themselves and leave Apple out of it.

      • Bill Povse

        This is a direct result of Snowden releasing all those documents. The people wanted more privacy so Apple gave them that in their phone. Once a password is entered by the owner no one else can get around it. If the wrong password is put in ten times the phone deletes every thing in it. Even the family of some one who died can not get into the phone of owner of the phone.

        • Actually that’s a red herring. Apple phones are the opposite of privacy. Advertisers and google ruthlessly hound anyone who has an Apple phone, and whatever software etc. they use to do what they do, the government has a million times over. That’s not what this case is about. This case is where the phone is off, and to wake it up and put it online requires a password. That’s not privacy, that’s security against some individual schlub who would like to get into your bank accounts etc. where a current password may be stored in the phone. You already have zero security against corporations, because Apple gets huge bucks from them by providing them a way to bombard you with propaganda.

          • Realist555

            Ever used an android? it’s the same.

        • Realist555

          Good! The iPhone and all tech devices need to be locked down for the owners use and information only. That’s why I dislike any car tracking tech.

  • What the heck are these bozos posturing about? Unlock the phone. What’s the worst case, that they uncover a tryst between illicit lovers?

  • 2Kool2Phool

    “If you can securely delete all of the emails from your server prior to handing over to the FBI, it makes all of the difference in the world.”

    Hillary Clinton – Former Secretary of State of the United States of America

  • Bill Povse

    The FBI is asking Apple to develop a new software program that doesn’t exist at this time. With all the techs that are in the FBI, why doesn’t the FBI write the software program?

  • Bob

    Does this mean that the dead Farook can have his defense attorneys post mordem decide which information on his cell phone is terrorist related and that which is not before handing over the information to the FBI? What do you think?

  • Realist555

    how many months has it been? and they still need more evidence? This is a ploy, and it’s against my rights to privacy. This is not just Apple users fight it’s android too!

  • Realist555

    Let me tell you how the US govt. helped me. after working for the department of the interior… I was a national park ranger for a short time, the background check and on boarding process was detail and collected tons of info on me. Last year millions of records were hacked from the government database, my personal information was stolen and probably in the hands of china, all I got is a postcard in the mail offering me identity protection for free. I would not want any branch of the US govt. to have their hands on my personal info. It will be hacked and get into the hands of whomever.