Companies line up to support Apple’s pro-privacy stance

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iPhone 6s
Apple is definitely on the side of the angels, according to many.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple might be a rival to other Silicon Valley tech giants, but that’s not stopping the likes of Microsoft, WhatsApp and Google defending Cupertino’s stance against helping the FBI hack an iPhone.

Check out the privacy-minded Apple lovefest from these big companies, as well as groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Amnesty International.

Microsoft is backing up a statement from the Reform Government Surveillance (RGS) group, of which it is a founding member.

“Reform Government Surveillance companies believe 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. RGS companies remain committed to providing law enforcement with the help it needs while protecting the security of their customers and their customers’ information.”

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum meanwhile shared Tim Cook’s recent open letter on his Facebook page, adding that, “We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake.”

Alex Abdo, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project chimed in to say that:

“This is an unprecedented, unwise, and unlawful move by the government. The Constitution does not permit the government to force companies to hack into their customers’ devices. Apple is free to offer a phone that stores information securely, and it must remain so if consumers are to retain any control over their private data.

The government’s request also risks setting a dangerous precedent. If the FBI can force Apple to hack into its customers’ devices, then so too can every repressive regime in the rest of the world. Apple deserves praise for standing up for its right to offer secure devices to all of its customers.”

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Issues, Sherif Elsayed-Ali, writes that:

“Apple is right to fight back in this case: the FBI’s request, which would in practice require Apple to rewrite its operating system to weaken security protections, would set a very dangerous precedent. Such backdoors undermine everyone’s security and threaten our right to privacy. Undermining mobile security not only puts our data at risk of being stolen by criminals, but also threatens privacy and freedom of expression at a time when [it] is a clear lack of checks and balances that prevent[s] authorities from abusing surveillance powers.”

If you’ve not been following this story, which promises to be one of the year’s most important and possibly Tim Cook’s legacy at Apple, you can get up to speed by checking out our FAQ here.

My Cult of Android frenemy Killian Bell and I will be debating this subject in this week’s “Friday Night Fights” installment, which you can read tomorrow.

Are you surprised to see so many organizations showing solidarity with Apple? Leave your comments below.

Source: The Verge