Google CEO Voices Support For Apple Against FBI

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is backing Apple in its battle with federal authorities over iPhone security.

"Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy," Pichai said in one of a series of tweets about the controversy. He added that an order requiring Apple to enable authorities to hack a device "could be a troubling precedent."

Pichai's comments come in response to a court order requiring Apple to help the FBI decrypt an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Specifically, the order directs Apple to disable software that blocks people out of devices after 10 wrong password entries.

Appe CEO Tim Cook said this week the company will fight the order. "In the wrong hands, this software -- which does not exist today -- would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession," he wrote in an online letter to customers.



"The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers -- including tens of millions of American citizens -- from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals," Cook added. "The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe."

The FBI argues that the 1789 All Writs Act empowers judges to order Apple to create the new software. But Apple will likely argue that creating new software is burdensome, and that courts can't use the All Writs Act to make Apple a party to the FBI's investigation of the shooters, legal experts told Ars Technica.

While the order issued this week has drawn tremendous media attention, the issue isn't new: The FBI and Apple also battled over encryption in a New York court last year.

In that case, which hasn't yet been decided, Apple reportedly argued against the "commandeering of Apple personnel and resources to do the government’s investigative work."

3 comments about "Google CEO Voices Support For Apple Against FBI ".
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  1. Mike Lynn from SPM Marketing & Communications, February 18, 2016 at 4:08 p.m.

    So let me understand this.  Google, who collects more data on people than the NSA (in my opinion), is now standing firm with Apple regarding the security/privacy of two known, self-identified terrorists.  And spare me the "slippery slope" rhetoric.  I don't know who I should be more afriad of.  But I will tell you that Apple...and Google...are becoming the bigger threat to our privacy and security.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 19, 2016 at 10:20 a.m.

    Maybe the tech companies could promise only to help when more than a dozen people are murdered in yet another terrorist attack on American soil since 2009.

  3. Dave Bowra from Campbell House, February 20, 2016 at 8:36 p.m.

    Should we be surprised by the stance of Apple and Google?  They are two of a number of large multimationals that configure their tax affairs in such a way that they avoid paying corporation tax in the countries they operate by routing their revenues through low tax countries.  Technically legal, but it says much about their corporate moral compass.

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