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Facebook, Google, Twitter, Woz, Trump, McAfee, Snowden, and more take sides on Apple vs. the FBI

Oscar Raymundo | Feb. 22, 2016
Tech leaders and politicians debate Apple's fight against the FBI in the court of public opinion.

Apple is challenging a federal court order to help access an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, claiming that doing so would create a “dangerous precedent.”

Now, other tech companies and politicians are publicly debating whether Apple’s dead-set protection of user privacy is justified and whether the FBI has a right to enter people’s iPhones via a “backdoor” to ensure national security. Shortly after Apple CEO Tim Cook posted an open letter detailing Cupertino’s refusal, tech leaders, presidential candidates, and other public figures began taking sides.

Here are some of the key (if not kooky) testimonies in the court of public opinion.


On Thursday, the social media giant issued a statement acknowledging the “essential work” authorities do to keep us safe, but Facebook also pledged to “fight aggressively” against government efforts to curtail the security of tech products.

“We condemn terrorism and have total solidarity with victims of terror. Those who seek to praise, promote, or plan terrorist acts have no place on our services. We also appreciate the difficult and essential work of law enforcement to keep people safe,” the statement reads, as posted on USA Today.

“When we receive lawful requests from these authorities we comply. However, we will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems. These demands would create a chilling precedent and obstruct companies’ efforts to secure their products.”

Steve Wozniak

The Apple cofounder spoke to CNBC on Thursday about Apple’s recent privacy fight against the FBI.

“I’m not intimately involved in the fight, but I’m definitely against [the court order],” Woz said. “I don’t think that the phone should have backdoors. I believe that Apple’s brand recognition and value and profits is largely based on an item called trust.”

Woz was later asked on what side Steve Jobs would have been and ended up talking about Jobs’s onetime close encounter with the FBI. 

“[Jobs] was a vegan. He cared about people... Once we have artificial intelligence doing the searching, can we trust it? I think [Jobs] would have gone for the privacy. One time we talked to the FBI. They came into Apple and notified us how to watch for all these Chinese spies that were going to try to get our IP, and [Jobs] asked the FBI, ‘We do the same thing, right?’ And the FBI guy said, ‘No, we don’t.’”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Pichai took to Twitter to praise Cook for speaking out against the FBI’s demands. “Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy,” Pichai wrote.


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