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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Backs Apple In FBI Encryption Debate

"Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy."

Posted on February 17, 2016, at 7:38 p.m. ET

Manu Fernandez / AP

In a carefully worded tweetstorm this afternoon, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sided with Apple in the company's fast-escalating battle with the FBI over iPhone encryption.

Published more than 12 hours after Apple CEO Tim Cook's open letter to customers, Pichai's comments describe Apple's stance as "important," noting that requiring companies to enable the hacking of consumer data "could be a troubling precedent." While Pichai is clear in his support of Apple, the "could"-heavy tone and calculation apparent in his remarks suggest Google isn't keen on entering the legal fray around this issue. Instead, Pichai called for a "thoughtful and open discussion."

Earlier today, whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about Cook's letter, pointing out that Google had not yet stepped forward to address the case.

1/5 Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy

2/5 We know that law enforcement and intelligence agencies face significant challenges in protecting the public against crime and terrorism

3/5 We build secure products to keep your information safe and we give law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders

4/5 But that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data. Could be a troubling precedent

5/5 Looking forward to a thoughtful and open discussion on this important issue

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.