It's not often that people feel compelled to side with Google on the topic of privacy, but the company's newest CEO, Sundar Pinchai, gives us a great reason to. As Brandon covered in great detail yesterday, Apple has been ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym to provide the FBI access to an iPhone 5c that was used by the terrorists in December's San Bernardino shootings - but, there are a couple of problems with that.
Apple insists that the backdoor the U.S. government wants doesn't exist, and CEO Tim Cook rages against the idea that his company should build one for any of its products. If you want to know why he feels this way, he sums it up perfectly with the following statement:
People use [smartphones] to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.
It turns out that Google, or at least its CEO, agrees. In a series of tweets, Google's Pichai notes that Cook's open letter is important, and that backdoors are a bad idea. He notes that it's important to comply with law enforcement and provide data based on what the company has, which would rule out any data that was encrypted.
Pichai ends his thoughts by saying that he's looking forward to a thoughtful and open discussion about this. As consumers, we can be thankful that such monoliths are looking to fight this, because we're sure not going to have any leeway ourselves.
If Apple and Google are successful at battling this, it'd be an unbelievable win and would set a huge precedent for the future. Where you at, Microsoft?
1/5 Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
2/5 We know that law enforcement and intelligence agencies face significant challenges in protecting the public against crime and terrorism— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
3/5 We build secure products to keep your information safe and we give law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
4/5 But that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data. Could be a troubling precedent— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
5/5 Looking forward to a thoughtful and open discussion on this important issue— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016