Apple puts a big emphasis on user privacy, and most of the time that works out for the best. However, the strategy may have backfired in one recent incident, and BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen has no issue calling the iPhone-maker out for it.
In a new blog post, Chen says that Apple went too far earlier this year when it declined to unlock the iPhone of a suspected criminal. At the time, the Cupertino company argued that doing so would “tarnish the brand.” Apple also noted that any device running iOS 8 or higher can’t be unlocked by anyone (including Apple) without the owner’s passcode, though in this case the phone was actually running iOS 7.
“We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good,” Chen writes, adding that BlackBerry still values privacy and security above all else. “However, our privacy commitment does not extend to criminals.”
He goes on to argue that tech giants have a responsibility to work with the authorities when appropriate. Of course, that doesn’t mean handing over total access either. BlackBerry was even forced to withdraw from Pakistan because it refused to give the government backdoor access to customer information.
According to Chen, technology companies need to strike a balance between the privacy of individual consumers and broader security issues. He admits it won’t be easy, but it’s still better than leaning too far towards either extreme.