In FBI encryption fight, Apple seeks Latino support – Los Angeles Times

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Apple’s top-ranking Latino executive took to Univision on Wednesday night to warn how the FBI’s demand for weaker security on iPhones could give investigators new surveillance powers, including in immigration cases.

The interview and other recent steps by the world’s most valuable company suggest Apple is attempting to frame the contentious battle over encryption with key demographic groups, including older Americans and lawmakers, political experts said.

Apple is laying the foundation for what could be a years-long controversy in the courts and legislative halls over whether its security tools can act as a permanent blockade to investigations. Polls show the issue divides the country. And many people are unsure of where they stand after a month of dueling statements from the FBI and Apple.

But broad public support may not be essential for the Cupertino tech giant, assuming it can to win over specific groups of voters whose support can sway elections, political strategists said. For example, the prospect of fervent Latino support for Apple’s position could be enough to force Democratic politicians who rely on the Latino vote to rethink backing the FBI.

That might explain why Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet software and services, told Univision that Latinos should be very concerned about any law that gives the government broad access to personal information.

“Because where does this stop?” Cue said in Spanish. “In a divorce case? In an immigration case? In a tax case with the IRS? Someday, someone will be able to turn on a phone’s microphone. This should not happen in this country.”

Univision’s Spanish-speaking audience wasn’t targeted for any particular reason, according to a person familiar with Apple’s thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But experts had little doubt that Cue’s mention of immigration represented a deliberate attempt to extend some Latinos’ fears about the government to the FBI’s position on encryption. His comment came in response to a question about whether Latinos should be “especially concerned,” given that many of them are immigrants.

In FBI encryption fight, Apple seeks Latino support – Los Angeles Times