Google is asking the public what they think about unlocking terrorist’s iPhone; Bill Gates chimes in, too


If you don’t know, Apple recently refused a court order to develop software that would make it easier for the FBI to access the data on the iPhone of a terrorist who committed attacks in San Bernardino, California. It was a bold stance that Apple felt they needed to take in order to protect our right to privacy.

The most we’ve heard from Google (they’ll most certainly have a very powerful voice in this discussion) to now is a series of Tweets from CEO Sundar Pichai stating the obvious: the discussions need to happen, and they will be important for the future of America. The company has been cautious to plant a foot on either side of this thing.

Google logo skateboard

But they could be drumming up a more elaborate conversation of their own as they might be starting to ask the general public their opinion. Google Opinion Rewards — an app that gives you Google Play credits for answering surveys — has reportedly started sending polls regarding the case and asking users what Apple should do. Google lays it out very simply:

In response to court order tied to ongoing investigations of San Bernadino attacks, Apple…

  • Don’t know
  • Should unlock iPhone
  • Should not unlock iPhone

One would guess Google is going to use the data to form their opinion. Don’t guess that. The issue is far too important for a top tech company like Google to handle so superficially, and we imagine they’re a ton less shallow than that.

In fact, you should know that this survey may not even originate from Google, as a large portion of the surveys from that app come from third-party sources who are paying for the poll. It could be just as likely that the question is put out there by a politician or a news organization looking for quick data.

We have little doubt Google will give a proper statement about this case in due time, and when that time comes they’ll be just as blunt and open about their views as they have been about anything else.

Another important voice in tech has also given his take on the matter. Bill Gates — founder and former CEO of Microsoft — suggested that it’s important this discussion is starting to happen, and that it’s important both sides come together to find the balance needed to both protect the civil liberties of citizens, and to protect those same citizens from horrific acts of terror like the one that happened in San Bernardino.

bill gates

Going a bit deeper, he feels Apple did the right thing by forcing the discussion and not rushing to break withstanding values (and actual constitutional rights) even in the face of something so impactful. It’s a much saner view of the whole ordeal than Donald Trump’s hasty chastisement, anyway. Where do you stand?

[via Reddit]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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