Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai lent support to Apple Inc.’s pushback against a federal order to help law enforcement break into the locked iPhone of an alleged shooter in the San Bernardino, Calif., attacks.
Mr. Pichai wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that “forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy.”
A federal judge Tuesday ordered Apple to enable investigators to bypass the passcode of the iPhone once used by alleged shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote on Apple’s website that such a move would create “a backdoor” around security measures hackers could eventually use to steal iPhone users’ data.
On Twitter, Mr. Pichai called Mr. Cook’s letter an “important post.” He said that while Alphabet Inc.’s Google provides user data to law enforcement under court orders, “that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices and data. Could be a troubling precedent.”
Google, like Apple, has been locked in an intensifying battle with U.S. authorities over the companies’ smartphone encryption software. The firms say that the encryption is crucial to protecting users’ privacy, and keeping their trust. Law enforcement officials say such software hinders criminal investigations, including into the San Bernardino attacks.