Republican North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr — up for re-election this year — spoke out against Apple Inc., writing in an opinion editorial for USA Today that Apple should assist law enforcement's efforts to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.
In the editorial, Burr said the phone belongs to San Bernardino county, which consented to the search. Since the county isn't demanding decryption, Apple is not required to provide a backdoor and should not resist further law enforcement efforts, he said.
Becca Watkins, Burr's spokesperson, said Burr was inspired to weigh in on the Apple-FBI debate by Apple's past cooperation with law enforcement.
“Apple has previously said that they would work with the U.S. government on these types of requests,” she said. “But then once they came out … and said they would not be doing so is what made Senator Burr more interested in restating his views.”
She said Burr is not seeking criminal penalties for companies who don’t comply with these requests at this time, but he hopes to have finalized encryption legislation in the coming weeks.