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Google takes Apple’s side on FBI encryption debate

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has spoken up in support of Apple as its dispute with US authorities over encryption continues.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently published an open letter setting out his company’s objections to measures taken by America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI has essentially demanded, through a court order, that Apple build a back door into its iOS software, granting the government access to the public’s private data.

Now Google CEO Sundar Pichai has signalled his company’s support for its great rival in this matter. He issued a number of tweets on the matter:

Pichai then encouraged a “thoughtful and open discussion” on the topic. Google builds encryption into its own Android mobile OS, so it’s understandable that this case will be of interest to it.

In recent days, various figures have come out in support of either side of the debate, including Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, and Jan Koum of WhatsApp. You don’t need a digital master key to ascertain which side of the fence all three fall on.

Related: Apple vs the FBI: Why is Apple so upset?

The FBI argues that Apple’s Acquiescence would be a one-off event, with Apple effectively providing a new and open OS for a single phone related to the San Bernardino shooting of December 2015. Apple argues that the very existence of such a “master key” would put its customers’ data at risk.

The debate looks set to rage over the coming days and weeks. But at least Apple can count on its old rival to have its back on this one.

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