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Americans divided over Justice Department-Apple dispute

By Dmitry Rashnitsov   |   Feb. 22, 2016 at 4:16 PM

CUPERTINO, Calif., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A slight majority of Americans believe Apple should comply with a Justice Department request to unlock the iPhone of one the San Bernardino terrorist attackers, the Pew Research Center reported Monday.

The survey, conducted Feb. 18-21 of 1,002 adults, said that 51 percent believe Apple should unlock the iPhone to assist the ongoing FBI investigation; 38 percent said Apple should not unlock the phone to ensure the security of its other users' information; 11 percent did not offer an opinion on the question.

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Age of the survey respondents was an important factor in the response. Among those ages 18-29, 47 percent said the company should unlock the phone, while 43 percent said it should not.

Among people over age 65, 54 percent said Apple should comply, while 27 percent disagreed.

Among those who personally own an iPhone, 47 percent said Apple should comply with the FBI demand to unlock the phone, while 43 percent said they should not out of concern it could compromise the security of other users' information.

To conduct the survey, Pew did 501 interviews on a landline telephone and 501 on cellphones.

Apple has refused to comply with the federal government's demand to break into the data of the phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook on the grounds it would threaten customers' security. Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, attacked a holiday office party on Dec. 2. Fourteen people were killed.

The couple died soon after in a firefight with police.

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