Google CEO Sundar Pichai has chimed in on the escalating battle between the FBI and Apple over iPhone encryption. Describing the letter published by Apple's Tim Cook as "important," Pichai says that a judge's order forcing Apple to assist the FBI in gaining access to the data on a terrorist's iPhone "could be a troubling precedent." Seeing as Google oversees the Android operating system, Pichai is a crucial voice in this debate; Android also offers encryption to safeguard personal data.
"We build secure products to keep your information safe and we give law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders," Pichai tweeted moments ago. "But that's wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices and data." Pichai seems to side squarely with Cook. "Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy." Google's CEO said he's "looking forward to a thoughtful and open discussion on this important issue."
That echoes the words of Cook, who in his letter wrote "This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake." At this point it seems like not a matter of if, but when other influential tech CEOs like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft's Satya Nadella will weigh in on the matter.
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
In taking this public stance, Pichai is also dismissing NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's assumption that Google had favored the government's position over "the public's" side — that of Google's users.
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