Google, Edward Snowden, and the RGS support Apple against the FBI


Apple have sparked controversy and a lot of discussion over the last week, by standing up to the FBI and refusing to make a version of their OS which the government can use to hack into an iPhone. Now, big names in the tech and data industry have spoken out in favour of Apple’s choices.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, wrote that “the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation,” but he warned that “in the wrong hands” the software would be able to unlock any iPhone, possibly posing a huge risk to the future of an individual’s privacy.

Google’s boss, Sundar Pichai, commented on the events in a long series of Tweets:

Edward Snowden, famous whistleblower on the NSA, also commented. He said in a Tweet that “The FBI is creating a world where citizens rely on #Apple to defend their rights, rather than the other way around.”

The Reform Government Surveillance group (RGS) also released a statement. RGS is a group of undersigned companies, all of which are big players in the technological world, including those such as Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook, among others.

In a statement, the RGS said that “it is extremely important to deter terrorists and criminals and to help law enforcement by processing legal orders for information in order to keep us all safe. But technology companies should not be required to build in backdoors to the technologies that keep their users’ information secure.”

The issue arose around the case of the San Bernadino shooters, and how the FBI think there is potential to understand the actions of the killers, and uncover any potential links to radical terrorist groups.

This case with Apple will set a precedent either for or against allowing government access to electronic devices, and whatever the outcome is, it will be controversial.