Google boss backs Apple in encryption battle with FBI

February 24, 2016
A protester holds up his iPhone with a sign "No Entry" during a demonstration in New York on February 23, 2016, Apple
A protester holds up his iPhone with a sign "No Entry" during a demonstration in New York on February 23, 2016, Apple has won the backing of a number of Silicon Valley firms in its legal fight

Google chief Sundar Pichai on Wednesday expressed his support for Apple in its standoff with the FBI over unlocking an iPhone as part of a terror probe, warning that creating so-called "backdoors" into encrypted communications could have "bad consequences".

"We want to take a very strong stance against any form of backdoor whatsoever," chief executive Pichai said during a conference at Paris's Sciences Po university, as he waded into the controversy.

"When you create backdooors it leads to very, very bad consequences which always ends up harming users."

Apple has found itself at the heart of a closely watched legal battle after a US judge ordered the tech giant to find a way to unlock the encrypted iPhone of US citizen Syed Farook, a gunman in last year's deadly San Bernardino shootings.

"User privacy is at the heart of what we do," Pichai added, though he noted the company had in the past cooperated with authorities when due legal processes had been followed.

His remarks echoed those made in a series of tweets last week, in which he wrote that giving "law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders" was "wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data".

Apple has won the backing of a number of Silicon Valley firms in its legal fight, with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg saying Monday that he was "pretty sympathetic" with Apple's quandary.

Explore further: CIA chief Brennan supports FBI in Apple encryption case

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not rated yet Feb 24, 2016
Google has this same sort of back door that Apple has so it is no surprise that they would be worried about getting a similar court order.

Apple is able to do what the FBI demands because it maintains the ability to install software and make changes to software without the device own approving or unlocking their device - ie a big backdoor. Apple device owners are at the mercy of Apple because they can push out forced updates at any time.

Google is able to install, update and modify software on any device with Google services installed. Android users get forced updates for Google services and apps all of the time. Some manufacturers install their own services which gives them similar capabilities.

The big difference is that Android users can install additional security software to limit what Google and manufacturers can do by rooting their device. Advertisers and other parties that steal private data motivate normal people to do with this better security.

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