The debate surrounding encryption on smartphones, or more specifically, unbreakable encryption on smartphones is one which has been circulating for some time. However, more recently, the debate has been heating up in the U.S. with the states of California and New York looking to introduce bills which would essentially blanket ban the sale of smartphones which do not come with breakable encryption included. This would be a move which would directly affect the sale of many Android devices, as well as those from the likes of Apple. Needless to say, many are against such a move including both Google and Apple, who both publicly advocate the need for smartphones to be encrypted by default as a means to protect the end user and their data.
The debate took another turn yesterday when a federal court order granted a request that Apple help to crack an iPhone belonging to one of those who took part in the recent San Bernardino atrocity. However, Apple today responded in the public forum by issuing an open letter, which not only made public the request but also included their denial to comply with the order, citing that it would set an “unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers”.
As to be expected, this was a statement which has immediately further ignited the debate on encryption on social media. One of those who has now joined the debate is infamous whistle-blower, Edward Snowden. However, his joining of the debate has resulted in Snowden calling out Google to join Apple in publicly supporting Apple’s non-compliant stance. In fact, the tweet goes even further than simply stating that Google should support Apple and instead Snowden’s tweet accuses Google of already siding with the government through the company’s silence on the matter. Further adding that this is one of the most important tech cases of the last decade. Of course, whether Google does come out and support Apple or not, the case in point does have a direct impact on Google and Android as it could open the door for similar requests for Android smartphones in the future.