In the battle between Apple and the FBI, the public is siding with the FBI.
A poll conducted over the weekend by my former colleagues at the Pew Research Center found that the highly publicized battle, which continued to escalate with a letter from Tim Cook to his employees yesterday, has registered with the public. Fully 75% said they have heard either a lot (39%) or a little (36%) about the standoff. And 51% said the company should unlock the iPhone, while only 38% said it should not. The responses cut across political parties – a rare thing in today’s politically polarized climate – with equal shares of Republicans and Democrats favoring the FBI’s position.
Microsoft (msft) founder Bill Gates also came out in favor of the government’s position. “This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information. They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a specific case,” Gates told The Financial Times. “It is no different than (the question of) should anybody be able to tell the phone company to get information, should anybody be able to get at bank records.” Reuters reports there are about a dozen other cases where the Department of Justice is seeking iPhone data.
Meanwhile, 200 British business leaders signed a letter to The Times of London warning of a risk to investment and jobs if the nation votes to leave the European Union in June. CEO signatories included Bob Dudley of BP, Ben van Beurden of Royal Dutch Shell, and Christopher Bailey of Burberry.
At FORTUNE, we were visited yesterday by Margaret Keane, CEO of Synchrony Financial (syf), formerly the credit card unit of GE (ge). She said the company’s data shows no sign of pending recession. “The customer is shopping,” she said. “They continued to shop. They are very disciplined. They make bigger payments than they have to… If we look 9-12 months out, we don’t really see anything happening.”
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