Mark Zuckerberg ‘sympathetic with Apple’ in FBI encryption fight

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Facebook Inc.  Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Monday voiced measured support for Apple Inc. in its resistance of government investigators’ demands to help circumvent the encryption on an Apple phone.

“We’re sympathetic with Apple,” Zuckerberg said during an address at the annual Mobile World Congress here. “I don’t think requiring back doors into encryption is either going to be an effective way to increase security or is really the right thing to do.”

Apple  last week said it would oppose a U.S. court order to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation unlock a phone used by a suspect in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings. The opposition has touched off a series of polemics for and against Apple.

Asked about the case during a wide-ranging talk before a room of telecom executives, Zuckerberg said he agreed that companies like Facebook have a responsibility to help fight terrorism. He pointed to his company’s stepped-up efforts to remove terrorist propaganda from its social network.

But he drew a line at trying to circumvent encryption. “We believe in encryption, and we think that that’s an important tool that honestly people are going to find a way to get anyway.”

By Sam Schechner

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