Will Google stand with Apple or remain silent on this unprecedented issue?
Late last night, many breathed a sigh of relief when Google's CEO Sundar Pichai announced his support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's decision. Pichai agreed that complying with an FBI order to create a backdoor for the iPhone would set a dangerous precedent.
Apple published a letter on its site earlier this week explaining the reasons why the company would not do as ordered. Cook's response was a thoughtful multi-paragraph argument that weighed the present need to find justice in the San Bernardino case against the larger precedent it would set in the future.
Pichai's vote of support came in the form of multiple tweets:
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
Pichai's stance may indicate a shift in priority within software development. Google's business model thrives off information it collects from its users. But Google may feel it has a responsibility to create an Android OS with stronger security features.
As to how Google would regulate its open-source software is questionable. Google's relationship with its Android OS is quite different than Apple's. Where Apple controls all levels of its hardware and software, Google merely releases Android and allows manufacturers to tinker with it as they wish.
Whether Pichai's tweets are also meant to indicate some change in the way Google operates is uncertain. However, it's safe to assume Apple and Google have found something they can finally agree on.
Photo Credit: Google
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker