Facebook, Twitter back Apple over cracking shooter’s iPhone

New York, Feb 19 (IANS) A day after Google’s Indian-American chief executive Sundar Pichai supported arch rival Apple to fight a court order to help the FBI break into the iPhone 5c used by California shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, social media giant Facebook and micro-blogging website Twitter also came out in the company’s support.

“We will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems,” Facebook posted on Friday.

“We condemn terrorism and have total solidarity with victims of terror. Those who seek to praise, promote, or plan terrorist acts have no place on our services. We also appreciate the difficult and essential work of law enforcement to keep people safe,” the Facebook statement added.

Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted: “We stand with @tim_cook and Apple (and thank him for his leadership)!”.

Farook and his Pakistani-origin wife, Tashfeen Malik, gunned down 14 people at a social services agency in December last year in San Bernardino, California, before being killed in a shootout with police.

Pichai on Wedenesday directed followers to read Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s open letter, arguing that helping the FBI try to get into the phone used by Farook would sabotage the security of “tens of millions of American citizens.”

WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum and technology giant Microsoft also voiced their support for Apple CEO Tim Cook on Facebook on Thursday.

“Technology companies should not be required to build in backdoors to the technologies that keep their users’ information secure,” a statement from Microsoft said.

Some of the US lawmakers and Republican front-runner Donald Trump consider Apple’s staunch refusal as a serious roadblock in the fight against domestic terrorism.

According to tech website The Verge, “The case, which Apple may fight all the way up to the Supreme Court, is the most significant battle yet in the ongoing encryption debate.”

With support from New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said that “Apple and Google are acting like teenagers saying ‘nobody can tell me what to do and the situation has become, ladies and gentlemen, the wild west of technology. And Apple and Google are their own sheriffs,” the report added.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said the court order sought and obtained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is investigating the December 2015 attack, would pose a serious threat to data security.

“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers,” Cook said in a message on the company’s website.

FBI Director James Comey said last week that investigators still have not been able to get at the information on Farook’s iPhone 5c.

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