Today the PEN American Center published an open letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for an end to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s attempts, in the aid of its investigation into the San Bernardino shootings, to force Apple to create new software that could allow the U.S. government to essentially unlock any iPhone.
We were horrified and outraged by the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, and we recognize the need to ensure strong protections for national security. However, what the FBI is asking Apple to do would erode the vital U.S. values of free expression and privacy, and could endanger writers and human rights advocates in countries around the world.
The letter comes in the wake of a statement made last night by FBI Director James Comey. As a way to explain the agency’s pressuring of Apple to create the new software, Comey said that the FBI owes the victims of the San Bernardino attack a “thorough and professional investigation.” It is Comey’s first public statement since Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company would fight the federal order to help the FBI hack into shooting suspect Syed Farook’s work-issued iPhone.