Microsoft offers tepid support for Apple’s battle with FBI
Apple’s escalating battle with the FBI over iPhone encryption is gaining support from various technology companies. Google CEO Sundar Pichai chimed in to support Apple yesterday, alongside WhatsApp founder Jan Koum. Now Microsoft is backing a statement made by the Reform Government Surveillance (RGS), of which Microsoft is a founding member:
“Reform Government Surveillance companies believe it is extremely important to deter terrorists and criminals and to help law enforcement by processing legal orders for information in order to keep us all safe. But technology companies should not be required to build in backdoors to the technologies that keep their users’ information secure. RGS companies remain committed to providing law enforcement with the help it needs while protecting the security of their customers and their customers’ information.”
The statement against backdoors doesn’t specifically name Apple, and comes as part of the RGS group that includes companies like AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yahoo. It’s not clear whether Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella plans to issue a further statement to directly support Apple’s strong opposition to iPhone backdoors, but Microsoft’s chief legal officer, Brad Smith, shared the Reform Government Surveillance statement on Twitter (which Nadella retweeted) — suggesting this is all we’ll hear from Redmond. Apple previously backed Microsoft in a challenge against federal prosecutors who want access to a customer’s email data stored in Ireland.