Mar 07, 2016 09:00 AM EST

U.N. Human Rights Chief: Apple Battle With FBI Could Open A ‘Pandora’s Box”

Zeid Raad al-Hussein, United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner says the United States officials "risk unlocking a Pandora's box" in their bid to compel Apple Inc to develop a software that will crack its iPhone's security features.  

He is urging the U.S. officials to proceed with caution.

The UN chief of human rights gave his warning Friday in a statement regarding the possibility of "extremely damaging implications" on political dissidents, whistle blowers, journalists and human rights advocates. Zeid warned that this matter is "potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes" and cyber criminals.

His admonition came one day after several technology companies and human rights advocacy groups gave their unequivocal public support to Apple in its battle against the FBI.

It also echoed what these different groups have been saying that the government's demands will have a debilitating effect on digital privacy not only in the United States but for the rest of the world.

"In order to address a security-related issue related to encryption in one case, the authorities risk unlocking a Pandora's Box that could have extremely damaging implications for the human rights of many millions of people, including their physical and financial security," said the chief human rights advocate in the U.N.

The FBI is using the courts to force Apple to develop a back-door solution so that a particular iPhone encryption can be cracked open. That notorious iPhone is said to be the property of a suspected San Bernardino, California terrorist that allegedly caused the death of 14 people.  

Zeid stated that the situation is focused on where the "key red line" should be established so that people will be protected "from criminals and repression."

If the FBI wins in this case, a precedent would be set which could then make it impossible to completely ensure privacy all over the world, Zeid argued.

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