BlackBerry CEO John Chen has taken Apple’s approach to the privacy of users to task in a blog post.
“For years, government officials have pleaded to the technology industry for help,” he wrote. “Yet [the requests] have been met with disdain.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook has said over and over that the company’s approach to privacy is fundamental: The company will almost never comply with government agencies when it does not have to.
Chen does not agree Apple should take that stance.
“One of the world’s most powerful tech companies recently refused a lawful access request in an investigation of a known drug dealer because doing so would ‘substantially tarnish the brand,'” he wrote, linking to an article by Ars Technica that is about Apple. “We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good.”
BlackBerry as a company has built its business on being the most secure smartphone operating system. U.S. President Barack Obama is a BlackBerry user, for example. As are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Chen argues that BlackBerry is “in a unique position to help bring the two sides [government and companies] of this debate together.”
“We reject the notion that tech companies should refuse reasonable, lawful access requests,” he wrote. “Just as individual citizens bear responsibility to help thwart crime when they can safely do so, so do corporations have a responsibility to do what they can.”
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