Rep. Darrell Issa speaks to reporters in Washington. Photo courtesy Issa's office
Rep. Darrell Issa speaks to reporters in Washington. Photo courtesy Issa’s office

Rep. Darrell Issa came out in support of Apple on Thursday, saying forcing the company to open up it’s iPhone for law enforcement “would set a dangerous precedent for our future.”

Apple is challenging a court order requiring the company to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation circumvent a passcode protection system on the phone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

“Allowing the government to mandate that Apple undermine its encryption technology to create a backdoor for government agents is unlawful, unwise and unsafe,” Issa said in a statement. “Companies should comply with warrants to the fullest extent they are able, but mandating that companies completely re-engineer their own software to create hacking tools against their will would set a dangerous precedent for our future.”

The FBI wants Apple to disable software that will erase Farook’s phone after 10 unsuccessful passcode attempts. Apple argues that doing so would give criminals and foreign governments access to phones in the future.

Issa, who represents north coastal San Diego County and south Orange County, is considered an authority in Congress on information technology and privacy and has sponsored key legislation.

“It’s crucial for Americans to view the larger implications of this case beyond that of a single phone; it’s about whether or not government should have the ability to access the devices we all use every day to store personal and private information,” he said.

“Apple has cooperated with requests from law enforcement using the information that they have access to. Going any further would do real harm to Americans’ right to privacy and would almost certainly undermine the freedoms that our government should be working to protect.”

Apple is challenging the court order, and has posted a detailed explanation of its position on its website. The case is likely to end up before the Supreme Court.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.