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UN Free Speech Expert Pledges Support For Apple's Encryption Stance

"Secure communications are fundamental to the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age," the UN's David Kaye wrote in an amicus brief.

[Photo: Flickr user Maina Kiai]

David Kaye, the free speech rapporteur for the United Nations, has expressed his support for Apple in its encryption impasse with the FBI, BuzzFeed News reports. For the past two weeks, Apple has pushed back against a court order requesting that the company grant the FBI access to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone.

In an amicus brief obtained by BuzzFeed—which was addressed to the judge who issued Apple's court order—Kaye backed Apple's stance, referencing a report he presented to the UN last year about human rights and encryption. While noting that encrypted devices sometimes give cover to terrorists, Kaye maintained that encryption was necessary to ensure freedom of speech.

"Secure communications are fundamental to the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age, permitting the maintenance of opinions without interference and securing the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas," Kaye wrote in his brief.

Kaye's role at the UN requires him to monitor global free speech issues. In this particular case, Kaye's opinion mirrors that of many Silicon Valley tech companies and organizations that support privacy rights, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Given that the Government has multiple, alternative technical and operational measures to conduct this investigation, it is unclear that the Government’s motion to compel Apple to create software to enable access to this iPhone is necessary for this particular investigation," Kaye concluded in the brief.

[via BuzzFeed News]

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