Tech giants Google and WhatsApp and whistleblower Edward Snowden are supporting Apple in fight with FBI for their stance over the encryption technology used in its iPhone smartphones.
The U.S. government wants Apple to unlock an iPhone 5C that belonged to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. The order, handed down by a U.S. magistrate judge, demands Apple (AAPL) write new software that would help the FBI get around the passcode so it can search the phone for evidence but in a letter published on the company’s website, chief executive Tim Cook said his company would fight the move.
Google, WhatsApp and Snowden Back Apple in Fight with FBI
Google CEO Sundar Pichai took a public stand in support of Apple in a series of tweets late Wednesday,sayin, “Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy and would set a “troubling precedent.” Pichai added that he was “looking forward to a thoughtful and open discussion on this important issue”.
1/5 Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
Jan Koum, chief executive of Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp, has also expressed his support for Apple’s stance, in a post on the social network.
He wrote : ” I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance on privacy and Apple’s efforts to protect user data and couldn’t agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake.”
Their views reflect those of Tim Cook in his letter to customers, which accused the FBI of requesting that Apple “build a backdoor to the iPhone” for use by government and law enforcement agencies.
“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation,” wrote Cook.
He claimed that “in the wrong hands” this software could be used to unlock “any iPhone in someone’s physical possession”, and warned that Apple would not be able to guarantee that the software would only be used by the FBI in this case.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has also backed Apple, tweeting that the company’s stance was defending the rights of its customers.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 17, 2016
Other than Google, WhatsApp and Snowden here are some others and their statements supporting Apple in fight with FBI :
ACLU: The civil rights group released a statement calling the order “an unprecedented, unwise, and unlawful move by the government.”
Amnesty International: In a similar statement, Amnesty said that Apple is, “right to fight back in this case: the FBI’s request… would set a very dangerous precedent. Such backdoors undermine everyone’s security and threaten our right to privacy.”
Anonymous: On its official Twitter feed, the hacker group has been retweeting Edward Snowden and others sharing concerns about the FBI’s request. Anonymous also said the White House, “willfully misrepresents what govt is asking Apple to do in order to expand surveillance powers.”
Information Technology Industry Council: A Washington advocacy group that represents the interests of the likes of Google, Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), and others, said in a statement that the fight against terrorism, “is actually strengthened by the security tools and technologies created by the technology sector, so we must tread carefully.”
Mozilla: the maker of Firefox: The company tweeted that it stands with Apple, because “we should not set a dangerous precedent.”
Twitter and Square: Jack Dorsey, chief executive of both the social network and the payments platform, tweeted on Thursday evening, “We stand with Tim Cook and Apple (and thank him for his leadership)!”
Facebook: The company released a statement on Thursday just after Jack Dorsey tweeted his support. The statement says: “We condemn terrorism and have total solidarity with victims of terror. Those who seek to praise, promote, or plan terrorist acts have no place on our services. We also appreciate the difficult and essential work of law enforcement to keep people safe. When we receive lawful requests from these authorities we comply. However, we will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems. These demands would create a chilling precedent and obstruct companies’ efforts to secure their products.”
So technology companies, and civil rights groups, are almost across the board staunchly siding with Apple.