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Sundar Pichai Backs Apple in Consumer Privacy Row: Calls for an Open Discussion

After Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter opposing government orders to develop a backdoor in its iOS operating system with strong words, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has came forward in his support. In a series of tweets, Pichai said that forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy.

The american investigative agency FBI has requested Apple to create a backdoor in iOS mobile operating system to help them access San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone which was recovered after attacks. Tim Cook opposed the court orders calling FBI’s backdoor request as’chilling’ and ‘dangerous’.

Apple has so far received support from a number of privacy activists including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF has applauded Apple “for standing up for real security” and announced its plan to file an amicus brief in Apple’s support.

Now one of Apple’s biggest competitors has shown support for the company’s stand. Pichai called Tim Cook’s letter as “important” and said “We understand and respects the challenges law enforcement faces, and give law enforcement access to data based on “valid legal orders.” But Pichai believes that giving law enforcement access to data is entirely different than “requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices and data.” Such attempts could be a troubling precedent, according to Pichai.

Like Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai calls the privacy issue as an important issue and hopes for a thoughtful and open discussion on the same.

Apple’s stance on privacy row and opposing the order to develop a malware for investigative purpose is receiving positive support. After Tim Cook’s letter, statements from other giants like Google and Microsoft was expected. Lack of Google’s statement was being seen as if Google had “picked a side” but Pichai’s response has made it clear Google’s view on such fragile issue.

Will Microsoft and other giants follow? Feel free to add your thoughts on the issue.

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