23:54 GMT +319 February 2019
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    FBI and police continue their investigation around the area of the SUV vehicle where two suspects were shot by police following a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California December 3, 2015

    Google CEO Backs Apple Over ‘Backdoor’ Access Row With FBI

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    Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai on Thursday sided with smartphone maker Apple after the US Justice Department asked that it hand over encryption keys to federal investigators probing the San Bernardino shooting.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Concerns are that, instead of merely unlocking the phone of San shooter Syed Farook, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants Apple to leave a forensics backdoor in its smartphone for FBI agents.

    "Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy," Pichai tweeted, adding this "could be a troubling precedent."

    Google’s top manager stressed that the company gives law enforcers access based on "valid legal orders," "but that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices and data," he argued.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook chose not to comply with a California judge’s order to help the FBI break into Farook's phone, according to his public letter published Tuesday night. Farook, a radicalized Californian man, and his Pakistani wife killed 14 people when they opened fire on a social services agency in San Bernardino last December.

    Cook explained that the FBI had asked the company to build a new version of the iPhone operating system and software that would allow authorities to unlock any iPhone. The White House has denied this.

    US computer expert and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on US surveillance on phone and internet communications, has described Apple’s standoff with the government over users’ privacy as the most important technology case in a decade.


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