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Larry Ellison criticizes Apple for fighting FBI request to hack shooter’s iPhone

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larry ellison
Oracle founder, CTO and
executive chairman Larry Ellison

Justin Sullivan/Getty

  • In an interview on Fox, Oracle founder, CTO, and
    executive chairman Larry Ellison criticized Apple’s decision to
    fight the FBI’s request to hack an iPhone used by a shooter
    from the 2015 San Bernardino attack, calling it
    “bizarre.”
  • Ellison said that this was an example of “political
    distortions” that can exist in tech companies.
  • In general, Ellison said he believes that many giant
    Silicon Valley companies often respond to political issues in a
    way that younger employees would prefer them to
    respond.

After 14 people were killed in
the San Bernardino mass shootings in 2015, Apple


refused to help

the FBI hack into the shooter’s
iPhone, calling it a dangerous precedent for the government to
make such demands on companies. Tim Cook even went so far as to
say the FBI wanted Apple to create
“the software equivalent of cancer”
in order to gain access
to the phone.

In an interview with Fox Business
Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Oracle founder, CTO, and executive
chairman Larry Ellison, called this “bizarre.” Ellison was
responding to Bartiromo’s comment that Silicon Valley tech giants
have become increasingly influential and are now in the
“crosshairs of the U.S. government.”

Ellison said that many of the
giant Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple
tend to respond to political issues in a way their younger
employees would prefer them to respond.

“Apple

will decide

if the phone’s going to be locked
or unlocked,” Ellison said. “Apple, not the courts – not our
courts, but Apple would make that decision, is just
bizarre.”

At the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook
posted a public letter on the company’s decision, saying,
The government could extend this breach of privacy and
demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your
messages, access your health records or financial data, track
your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera
without your knowledge. Opposing this order is not something we
take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see
as an overreach by the U.S. government.”

FBI agents had previously called
Cook “


a
hypocrite


” for the
decision. The FBI


later dropped

the court order for Apple and
hired a third party to


hack the
iPhone


. Ellison told
Bartiromo that this example shows some of the “political
distortions” that can exist in tech companies.

Ellison is not the only tech
company founder to have criticized Apple’s decision to fight the
FBI’s request. Microsoft founder Bill Gates previously said he
didn’t


share the belief

“that even a clear mass-murdering
criminal’s communication should never be available to the
government.”

Ellison also spoke on his views
on the political decisions of other tech companies, such as
Google’s


new AI policies regarding
military contracts


.

Apple did not immediately respond
to request for comment at the time of publication.

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