The subject of smartphone encryption in the U.S. is a debate which is both ongoing in the U.S. legal system as well as in the public forum. While companies like Google and Apple are looking to ensure consumer data remains safe through the employment of unbreakable encryption, the government argues the case that it is a matter of security. In fact, it was this reasoning along with the FBI’s request to obtain access to a iPhone belonging to one of those involved in the San Bernardino atrocity which led to a federal court order instructing Apple to assist in gaining access.
In turn, this request led to Apple publishing an open letter which publicly rejects the order to help in the matter. A move which has since caused mixed feelings on social media with advocates for both camps joining the debate. One of those who did join the debate was Edward Snowden who called out Google by saying their lack of vocal support for Apple is a sign of them standing with the government on the issue. On that note, Google has ended any question of silence with the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai taking to Twitter with five tweets directly addressing the issue and seemingly, lending support to Apple’s stance, by noting what has been asked of Apple today could set a dangerous precedent going forward.
The first tweet simply notes that today’s posting by Apple is an “important post” and further highlights that forcing companies to “enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy“. The second tweet looks to balance the issue by noting that the challenges faced by enforcement and intelligence agencies are real ones and ones which protect the public against real threats. The third tweet seems to hone in on Google’s own services and details that they “build secure products to keep your information safe” and further adds “we give law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders“. Which the fourth tweet quickly highlights is a very different scenario to asking companies to hack customer devices – a move which “could be a troubling precedent“. Closing out the chain of tweets, Pichai simply notes that he is “looking forward to a thoughtful and open discussion on this important issue“.