Google, Facebook, and Apple Are Fighting International Regulators to Keep User Data Private

February 26, 2019, 1:45 PM UTC

Some of the world’s largest tech companies are fighting battles on several fronts across the world to keep user data private.

Last week, a consortium of tech companies led by Apple, Google, and Facebook issued a letter to the Australian government asking it to rethink a law passed in December that would make it easier for law enforcement to compel those companies to furnish user data. According to The Wall Street Journal, which earlier reported on the letter, the companies fear that the move could pave the way for tech companies adding a “backdoor” into their devices that could give governments easy access to user information.

It was the latest in a string of complaints the companies have filed across India, Europe, and elsewhere, to protect user privacy. They argue that people have a right to privacy and employ end-to-end encryption to stop anyone, including law enforcement, from snooping on user data. Governments and law enforcement officials around the world, however, argue that encryption actually hurts public safety and makes it more difficult to do police work. They’ve asked for easier access to user data.

Regulators across the world are now eyeing legislative ways to compel the companies to share data. If they don’t, they could face massive fines and criminal charges in countries like India and Australia where data access regulations are moving through government. In the U.S., where Apple and others have felt the wrath of congress on data privacy, no serious bill has been brought to the floor to actually pave the way for less encryption.