Apple, Google and other firms are stepping up security measures to regain public trust following in the wake of news from Edward Snowden that the NSA and other government agencies may have been using backdoors to access data from tech companies.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said that the security in iOS 8 makes it almost impossible for Cupertino to pass information over to the feds, and Google's new Android L operating system will ship with encryption out-of-the-box. Amid all of the bragging of increased security, Google's Eric Schmidt has stepped in to suggest that Google has long offered more secure servers than Apple.
"We have always been the leader in security and encryption," Schmidt explained to CNNMoney recently. "Our systems are far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple. They're catching up, which is great." Schmidt's comments were likely made in response to a letter from Tim Cook that suggested "other companies" were selling customer's private data, a clear jab at Google, which makes a bulk of its profits on ad sales. Schmidt said that it was "unfortunate" Cook believes this about Apple and said Cook must have been briefed by someone who wasn't up to snuff on Google's security measures.
We're happy to see Google and Apple fighting for customer privacy and security, even if it means fighting against one another, because it should lead to both working round-the-clock to beef up protection against hackers. Still, the U.S. government and the FBI in particular aren't fond of the new measures. FBI director James Comey recently suggested that both firms were acting above the law by keeping the government out.
"I just want to make sure we have a good conversation in this country before that day comes," Comey said recently. "I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well, how come you can't save this kid,' 'how come you can't do this thing."
The FBI and the Justice Department are both working to stop Google and Apple from moving forward with new software that will block the government from getting court-ordered access to data. On the other hand, security experts have argued that increased encryption prevents all attackers from accessing data, even data owned by the government.