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Verizon takes Apple’s side in FBI showdown

Verizon Wireless, the largest mobile carrier in the United States, has strongly — and rather unexpectedly — stood up in support of Apple in its legal showdown with the FBI. In a statement, CEO Lowell McAdam said "Verizon is committed to protecting customer privacy and one of the tools for protecting that privacy is encryption." According to the chief executive, Verizon supports "availability of strong encryption with no back doors."

And just like Apple's Tim Cook, McAdam is pushing for a resolution to be decided by Congress rather than having the outcome determined by a single judge or behind closed doors. "The case with Apple presents unique issues that should be addressed by Congress, not on an ad-hoc basis," McAdam said.

For Verizon of all companies to take such a stance is significant; like its fellow carriers, Verizon cooperated with the NSA in its mass surveillance and bulk data-collection programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. The company has also dealt with privacy controversies of its own, coming under fire last year for aggressively tracking its customers with "permacookies," before it gave them the choice of opting out. But in this instance, Verizon, a company that some consumers view with wary eyes, seems to be standing solidly behind Apple — or whatever Congress ultimately decides the right answer is.