Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in a string of tweets this afternoon, has weighed in on the lengthy message Apple CEO Tim Cook penned to customers and the U.S. government — and, frankly, the world — regarding encryption on personal devices.
Cook was responding to a federal judge's order directing Apple to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in December's massacre in San Bernardino, Calif. "The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers," the open letter begins. "We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand." (You can read Cook's full letter here.)
Much of the day went by with many wondering if Apple would be standing alone in this debate. Later in the day, Google's Pichai, in a string of five tweets, finally broke that silence.
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
Google has previously voiced displeasure with pressure from governments (foreign and domestic) requesting data that it holds on customers, and as Pichai states the company works hard to keep everything it stores safe. Though the data Google stores isn't directly influenced by the situation Apple is currently in, Pichai understands that the sentiment has wide-reaching implications for companies that are trusted with customer's personal data.