UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issues a statement on the Apple-FBI case

In a statement issued on the Apple-FBI case, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that the case has ramifications beyond the issue at hand (FBI’s request for Apple to assist in unlocking one specific phone) and ‘could have extremely damaging implications for the human rights of many millions of people, including their physical and financial security’. Noting the role of encryption as an enabler of the right to privacy and freedom of expression, the Commissioner said that, if the FBI wins the case, this would set a precedent for authoritarian regimes to undermine these fundamental rights. He underlined that the principle of proportionality should prevail in this debate, so that weakening encryption for the declared purpose of fighting against terrorism does not lead to ‘bigger dangers to national and international security’.