How FBI Director James Comey Caused Google and Apple to Agree

By Shawn Paul Wood Comment

FBI Director Comey Announces Crackdown On Commercial Child Sex Trafficking

As professionals in PR, you would think a story about the most significant tech juggernauts on the planet uniting behind the actions of one organization would be a huge PR win, right?

Yeah, well they’re uniting against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, so… not so much.

It all began with the diabolic actions of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. On Dec. 2, he and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 innocent people in the name of ISIS. Farook had a phone issued by his employer that possibly has information on it, which could result in the arrest of other ISIS sympathizers in this country.

A U.S. magistrate has ordered Apple to assist FBI Director James Comey (seen pictured) in unlocking that iPhone. Apple is refusing to comply, as seen from an open customer letter from CEO Tim Cook. Although Cook says that “opposing this order is not something we take lightly,” here’s why:

“We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.

“While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”

Yes, this is a case of national security, but then again, so is encryption, which is why Tim Cook has a very unlikely source of support — Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.

Pichai argues that if the FBI forces this play, it would essentially put tech companies in the position of hacking their own customers, and make them vulnerable for others to do the same.

This is easily going to become one of the biggest PR story for many clients in the tech space. What do you think?

 

[FEATURED PHOTO: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
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