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New poll suggests nearly half of Americans support Apple in its fight with the FBI

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Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

The American public might be on Apple’s side in its war with the FBI. An Ipsos poll conducted for Reuters found that 46 percent of Americans support Apple’s opposition to the FBI’s court order demanding it subvert its iPhone security. Thirty-five percent disagreed with the company's decision to fight the demands, and 20 percent didn’t know what to think. The study results came from an online poll conducted earlier this week with 1,576 Americans.

More than half of people also agreed that if Apple complied with this order, the government would eventually use the case to spy on iPhone users. Respondents also overwhelmingly voiced their concern for government surveillance. Nearly three-fourths of people said they wouldn’t be willing to give up their email privacy to help foil terrorist plots both domestically and abroad. The same held true for text message privacy and general phone record privacy.

Forty-six percent of Americans support Apple’s opposition to the FBI’s court order

This study contradicts one published earlier this week. Pew Research found that more than half of Americans believed Apple should just comply with the FBI's demands, whereas 38 percent said the company should fight. Wording was a key difference between the two studies, Reuters reported. Ipsos stated Apple’s position and how it could set a precedent for future cases. The Pew study didn’t cover the company’s concerns as much and said the FBI needed to unlock the target phone because it represented an "important part" of their investigation. Pew was also a phone poll, as opposed to one conducted online, so Ipsos respondents might be more tech-savvy.

If anything can be gleaned from the two polls, it’s that Americans aren’t sure where they fall in this debate. Sizable portions in both studies were undecided or unsure how they felt. While the battle will likely play out in courts in the coming months, Apple is also pushing Congress to legislate the issue.