'First they come for the iPhone': Ron Paul backs Apple in FBI battle

Ron Paul supported Apple in not assisting the FBI. © Reuters; AFP
Former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul has called on the public to support Apple in its battle against the US government to create a “backdoor” into iPhones for the FBI to bypass encryption.

The liberatarian-minded Republican slammed the need for the hack in a statement this week, saying, “The government spying on us has not prevented one terrorist attack.”

Paul said that if Apple assists the FBI, it will be a “precedent-setting case” and the technology will be used again with a lower threshold: “We have a fundamental right to go about our daily life without the threat of government surveillance of our activities. We are not East Germany.”

The FBI is trying to coerce Apple into helping it determine the passcode on the work phone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, who killed 14 people and injured 22 in December.

The federal agency wants the company to create special software to disable security features that render the iPhone unreadable after 10 incorrect entries of the passcode.

New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr criticized Apple at a press conference last week, saying: “This has become the Wild West in technology. Apple and Google are their own sheriffs and there are no rules.”

Vance currently has 175 Apple devices that he requires access to as part of investigations.

Speaking on CNBC Monday, billionaire Warren Buffett said privacy has its limits and used the 9/11 attacks as reasoning for Apple to assist the FBI: “In that case, security trumps privacy."

Buffett said he would trust officials with access to any such technology to “behave in a proper manner”.

Paul said Apple’s extra security on their devices came as a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations of government spying: “The federal government was caught breaking the law, but instead of ending its illegal spying [it] is demanding that private companies make it easier for it to continue.”

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