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New Poll Shows Americans Side With Apple in Encryption Fight

An earlier Pew Research Center poll found Americans siding with the government.

Chip Somodevilla, Gabriella Demczuk / Getty

A new poll shows Americans now side with Apple in its battle with the government over encryption, reflecting evolving public opinion in the dispute over unlocking a phone used by one of the attackers in San Bernardino.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll asked registered voters if Apple should cooperate with a Justice Department request to create software that would bypass the security on an encrypted iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook in the Dec. 2 shootings, so investigators could hack the phone.

Nearly half of those surveyed, 47 percent, said Apple should not cooperate with the government. An even greater percentage of independents, 58 percent, agreed with this sentiment. That represents a shift from an earlier Pew Research Center poll that showed the majority of people were sympathetic to the government’s arguments in the case.

But Americans remain divided in the broader battle over national security and privacy interests.

Registered voters were asked whether they were more concerned that the government wouldn’t go far enough in its efforts to monitor the activities and communications of potential terrorists, or if they feared government intrusion into privacy.

Some 47 percent of those polled said they believed the government won’t go far enough in its domestic surveillance efforts. Slightly fewer, 44 percent, said they feared the government would go too far.

The survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted March 3 through March 6.

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