Google(GOOG) CEO Sundar Pichai has given tentative support to Apple(AAPL) in its fight against a court order that would force it to effectively hack into an iPhone by creating a special version of the device’s firmware.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said Wednesday that Apple would fight the order because it created a “chilling” precedent for bypassing the security of iPhones. In a series of tweets, Pichai fell short of outright agreement with Apple’s stance, but he said Cook’s letter was important and suggested the FBI’s demands went beyond traditional cooperation between tech firms and law enforcement.
The case involves the iPhone 5c of one of the San Bernardino shooters, who were responsible for 14 deaths and the injury of a further 22 people last December.
According to the FBI, Apple’s security mechanisms for the device — which are not as strong as those for newer iPhones — make it impossible for investigators to get past the lock screen, so they want Apple to build a new tool for bypassing those security mechanisms. Cook said Apple is worried the tool will get out into the wild and undermine security for more iPhone users.
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Donald Trump dubbed Apple “disgraceful” and presidential rival Marco Rubio said he hoped the firm would comply with the order, but billionaire Marc Cuban has given a resounding “amen” to Apple’s stance. Cuban suggested that tools undermining smartphone security could end up helping terrorists in their planning.