When it comes to user privacy matters, major tech companies never leave each other’s backs.
This is happening in Silicon Valley as we speak, with Apple proudly being backed by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and a bunch of other tech companies in the ongoing iPhone dispute with the FBI.
Apple is facing a unique battle with the U.S. government over privacy matters regarding the iPhone of the suspect in the San Bernardino shooting. The FBI wants Apple to help create a backdoor entry to the device so that it can obtain the information stored on the device – information the agency believes could be valuable in the ongoing case.
Apple has been adamant that it won’t be part of such plots and now it has the backing of major names in the industry. According to the Wall Street Journal, major tech companies are ready to file an unusual joint motion in support of Apple’s fight against what they believe is user privacy violation. Twitter is also expected to be part of the fight, but it is not expected to be part of the filing. Unexpectedly, Apple will also be receiving official backing from American wireless carrier Verizon.
According to Apple, the statements “just this once” and “just this phone” as used by the government will obviously not hold once they comply with the court order. The result, Cook says, could eventually decide how governments and other law enforcing agencies could find their ways into our personal privacy and security for life.
But why are Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook teaming up?
Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are always at constant war. Apple has iOS, Microsoft has Windows Phone while Google has Android. On the other hand, Facebook and Twitter join the party when it comes to online content. However, these companies are now rallying behind Apple, with Facebook CEO recently asserting that his company believes in encryption.
“We are sympathetic with Apple” because “we believe in encryption and we think that it’s an important tool,” Mark Zuckerberg said during the just-concluded Mobile World Congress. Even though he is aware that Facebook has its own role to play in helping step up the fight against terrorism, he still believes that giving the government a backdoor access to information is not the solution.
The message was also reiterated by WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, who insisted that “we must not let this dangerous precedent to be set,” he said. “Today, our freedom and liberty are at stake.”
Twitter also threw in some support courtesy of CEO Jack Dorsey, tweeting his support for Tim Cook and Apple. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has called the move by the FBI as something that would set a “troubling precedent” if Apple complied.
It just shows how much tech companies value the privacy of their users and it is the last thing any of them would want to see affecting their user bases. If Apple agrees to this court order, it will not just be accepting causing trouble in its own backyard, but also in the backyards of these other companies. It would never end with the San Bernardino case.