Readers have written emails and posted hundreds of comments on the Times' Facebook page reflecting the complexity of the case.
Some readers believe the federal government has gone too far and have sided with Apple:
Bonita Dombrowski: Our government does not have the right nor the power to tell any private company to create something, regardless of the circumstances...or has this country become China? This is more than government overreach. This is abuse of power at it’s max.
Sal Sanchez: Apple doesn't have the technology to do it now. They would have to create it. They would have to spend time and money to do something they don't want to do. I applaud Apple for standing with by their secure products.
Dave Navarro Sr.: The FBI wants Apple to create and give them a "backdoor" into iOS. Doing so would impune Apple's customer credibility. I and many others would cease being Apple customers.
Others believe Apple has a duty to aid law enforcement:
Katherine Ezzre’ Mackenzie: If a program can be written to only unlock that particular phone then Apple should be the one to do this. Unlock the phone for the FBI. Download the information for then; then immediately destroy the program.
AJ Jaramillo: A warrant allows the police to search your house, your car, your garbage, your mail, but your cell phone is the last bastion of privacy that we must defend? If the police have a warrant, then they should have the right to go through it.
Lubo Astinoz: Substitute “Apple” with locksmith and “iPhone” with lock. Should a locksmith help the FBI to break a lock to get into a mass murderer’s house?
Terri Cloutier: Unlocking [the phone] might save lives. When the next bloodbath happens, Apple will have blood on their hands.
One reader said Apple's stance was self-serving:
Joe Neri: Apple is not interested in protecting the privacy of their customers; they're only concerned about protecting their proprietary software.
Some fear new decryption software could get into the wrong hands:
Beth Cone Kramer: No company has ever been forced by a government agency to create a product or program. By creating a backdoor, every iPhone is more vulnerable to identity theft and hacking, as well as other security breaches. This isn't about being paranoid. It gives the Feds too much power and also opens your privacy to criminals.
Robert Stephenson: They should unlock just that one phone. But do not supply the FBI with any program to open other phones.
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