The news about the FBI ordering Apple to offer backdoor access to an iPhone belonging to a terrorist, along with Apple’s subsequent refusal, has been dominating headlines this week. On an issue that’s sure to prompt ongoing debate about encryption and privacy, several other tech giants are voicing their support for Apple’s stance. It took a bit of time, but Google’s Sundar Pichai tweeted his agreement with Tim Cook’s open letter on encryption, along with Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp. Now Microsoft has spoken up, albeit in a moderate way.
Instead of Microsoft saying something direct about the FBI’s actions or support for Apple’s stance, the statement came from Reform Government Surveillance, a group that includes many big tech companies, such as AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yahoo, as well as Microsoft.
They state their support for helping law enforcement fight criminals and terrorism, but add that they should be forced by the government to include backdoors to users’ private information.
“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.”
As you can see, there’s mention of Apple or the recent demand from the FBI to be given access to a locked iPhone. A link to the statement was shared Microsoft’s chief legal officer on Twitter, but that’s as far as the makers of Windows have stuck their neck out.