Google boss Pichai backs Apple in FBI security dispute

Ben Parfitt
Google boss Pichai backs Apple in FBI security dispute

Apple boss Tim Cook has received the backing of Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his security row with the US government.

Cook earlier this week said he would not abide by FBI orders to create what he sees as a security backdoor to iOS that allow authorities to access a handset's personal data.

Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users' privacy,” Pichai said on Twitter.

We know that law enforcement and intelligence agencies face significant challenges in protecting the public against crime and terrorism. We build secure products to keep your information safe and we give law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders.

But that's wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices and data. Could be a troubling precedent.”

Wired reports that Mozilla executive director Mark Surman has also backed Cook, stating: "It sets a dangerous precedent that threatens consumers' security going forward. Companies should be encouraged to aggressively strengthen the security of their products, rather than undermine that security."

WhatsApp boss Jan Koum concurred, agreeing that caving to government demands would set a dangerous precedent” and that the debate sees America's freedom and liberty at stake”.

The White House has disputed Cook's interpretation of its request, saying that it is just asking for one-time access to a specific device as part of the investigation into December's San Bernardino shootings.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has also attacked Apple, saying that: We should open it up. I think security overall. We have to open it up and we have to use our heads. We have to use common sense.

To think that Apple won't allow us to get into her cell phone – who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up.”

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