While the FBI battles Apple over encryption, pushback from the tech industry persists – Los Angeles Times

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The FBI hasn’t made any headway in its standoff with Apple Inc., and the bitter feud isn’t changing minds at competitors either.

Several tech executives have voiced their support for Apple and are forging ahead with their plans for greater privacy, arguing that what consumers want is more control over their devices and no backdoors for governments.

That’s bad news for the FBI, and signals that even as it battles Apple, pushback will persist from other tech companies, including social media giants, hardware makers and online storage providers.

The government has shown no signs of backing down, though. Over the last week, FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), former Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton and victims’ families have issued emotional pleas for Apple’s cooperation, arguing that investigators need access to an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists to aid in its investigation.

To some, the FBI has made a compelling case for government intrusion into personal devices in extreme cases.

But where the government wants reasonable paths into phones and databases for criminal investigations, it is instead being met with stiffer barriers.

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“As much as they try to play up terrorism and child pornography and make an emotional play, we are going to see more encryption,” said John Adams, director of security at San Francisco payments processing start-up Bolt and a former head of security at Twitter Inc.

“They try to use the horrors of the world to erode civil liberties and privacy, but the greater good — having encryption, more privacy for more people — is always going to trump small isolated incidents.”

In a post-Edward Snowden era, the nation’s tech businesses are sensitive to giving off the image that they are secretly funneling consumer data to authorities or that their products are susceptible to hacking. Companies have buttressed their security to mollify outraged and distrustful customers. Apple and Google made encryption a default on their devices, while app developers introduced two-factor authentication, so that users must enter a pair of codes to log in.

Gaps still remain. More and more data is being put in the cloud, which means that companies still have access to it. But the end goal for many companies is to give users the only key, so that only they can decide who sees the trips they’ve taken on Uber, the videos they’ve shared on Snapchat and the documents they’ve stashed on Dropbox. The FBI’s appeal hasn’t deterred that mission.

Executives at Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc. and Google have sided with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and said that government access to their consumers’ data needs to be closely vetted.

“We will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems,” a Facebook spokeswoman said Tuesday.

While the FBI battles Apple over encryption, pushback from the tech industry persists – Los Angeles Times