Google CEO: Forcing Apple to comply with FBI may set “troubling precedent”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai took to Twitter (not Google+) on Wednesday night to comment on Apple CEO Tim Cook's post about hardware encryption and backdoors for law enforcement. Pichai opened by saying that Google does give data to law enforcement "based on valid legal orders," something outlined in the company's Transparency Report. But when it comes to creating backdoors to allow access to data stored on devices, Pichai was more hesitant:
4/5 But that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data. Could be a troubling precedent
— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 17, 2016
Pichai's "could be" stance on the issue is milquetoast, especially in comparison to the multi-paragraph line in the sand that Apple drew on Tuesday. Though many tech companies—Google, Microsoft, and Apple included—have all spoken out against encryption backdoors in the past, most have become quieter about it in the wake of the San Bernardino attacks.
It's also worth noting that Google doesn't have nearly as much control over the Android ecosystem as Apple does over the iPhone. Phone makers and mobile network operators all have their fingerprints on the Android phones they sell, and AT&T has already said that it has no interest in fighting the government over encryption.