Quoted: Does ‘Apple scare Congress’ on privacy and encryption?

“I don’t think Congress scares Apple. I think Apple scares Congress.”

John Kindervag, tech analyst at Forrester Research, on the government’s push against encryption.

As tech companies step up measures to protect user information, law enforcement and government officials have complained that their jobs have gotten harder. Anti-encryption sentiment has picked up steam in the wake of recent suspected terrorist attacks. But people haven’t forgotten about mass government spying revealed by the Edward Snowden leaks, either.

That’s why Kindervag told Bloomberg he thinks companies that stand up to the government on privacy will be seen as “heroic.”

Apple and Google’s Android have turned on encryption by default in their newer smartphones. Specifically, Apple is waiting for a ruling over whether it will be forced to unlock a seized iPhone as part of a criminal investigation. (It’s an iPhone with an older iOS, so the company will technically be able to do it. But it has said it won’t be able to do the same for iPhones running iOS 8 or later because only users know their passcodes.)

Last week, FBI Director James Comey said the government doesn’t want backdoors, or a direct way to users’ information — something Apple CEO Tim Cook and others in the tech industry have spoken against. Comey said the government wants tech companies’ cooperation when the government presents a court order. Meanwhile, legislators are reportedly working on a bill that would force companies to cough up information when the government asks.

 

Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the iPhone 6s at a media event in San Francisco on Sept. 9, 2015. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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