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Google’s Sundar Pichai supports Apple against cracking shooter’s phone

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Washington: Indian American Chief Executive of Google, Sundar Pichai supported the rival Apple in its battle aginst a court order which will help the FBI access information on the encrypted iPhone used by a Pakistani-American shooter couple in San Bernardino.

Pichai on Wednesday directed followers to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s open letter Tuesday night arguing that helping the FBI try to get into the phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook would sabotage the security of “tens of millions of American citizens.”

Farook and his Pakistani origin wife, Tashfeen Malik, gunned down 14 people at a social services agency Dec 2 in San Bernardino, California, before being killed in a shootout with police.

FBI Director James Comey said last week that investigators still haven’t been able to get at the information on Farook’s iPhone 5c.

A Riverside, California court Tuesday directed Apple to help FBI crack the phone by developing software to hack into one of its own devices.

In a series of tweets Wednesday evening, Pichai argued that even that would essentially put tech companies in the position of hacking their own customers:

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

The government, Cook contends, is asking Apple to create a “backdoor” to its own security systems.

“Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them,” Cook wrote in a letter published on the company’s website.

“But now the US government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create.”

Reacting to Cook’s stand, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said he was floored that Apple had not volunteered to aid the FBI. “Who do they think they are?” he asked on Fox News.

Speaking to reporters in South Carolina, Senator Marco Rubio said he hoped the tech giant would voluntarily comply with the government’s request, but acknowledged the court order is far from a simple issue.(IANS)

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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Tech Giant Google Ends Forced Arbitration For Employees Globally

Last November, over 20,000 employees staged a walkout at Google over forced arbitration

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

After facing intense protests over sexual misconduct and discrimination at workplace, Google has decided to end the forced arbitration policy for its employees.

According to a report in Axios on Thursday, the new policy will go into effect from March 21 for Google employees globally.

The decision will not open the door to bringing lawsuits over previously-settled claims, said Google.

“Employees with disputes currently in arbitration who are still employed by the company as of March 21 will be able to choose to sue instead,” it added.

Google employees the world over have called for the practice to end in other cases of harassment and discrimination.

Google
The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

“Google appears to be meeting that demand for employees — but the change will not apply in the same blanket way to the many contractors, vendors and temporary employees it uses,” said the report.

Forced arbitration agreements require employees to waive their rights to make a legal claim in court and instead go through a private system, said TechCrunch.

Google also said it would remove mandatory arbitration from legal agreements it reaches directly with its contract and temporary workforce.

Also Read- NIIT Technologies, Microsoft Partner to Drive Cloud-led Transformation

Last month, Google employees took to Twitter and Instagram to educate the public about forced arbitration

Last November, over 20,000 employees staged a walkout at Google over forced arbitration. (IANS)