Former HP CEO and current presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina says Apple and Google should just hand user information over to government investigators.
Speaking Thursday at the Republican party's presidential debates, Fiorina said companies should be more willing to cooperate with requests from federal investigators to produce customer information.
"I do not believe that we need to wholesale destroy every American citizen's privacy in order to go after those that we know are suspect or are – are already a problem," Fiorina told the debate moderator.
"But yes, there is more collaboration required between private sector companies and the public sector."
Later in the debate, when asked specifically if Apple and Google should give the FBI unfettered access to their systems, Fiorina responded, "I absolutely would call on them to collaborate and cooperate, yes."
Both Apple and Google have drawn the ire of government investigators by resisting efforts to decrypt and hand over personal information.
Government agencies have argued that the access to data is critical for national security investigations, while privacy advocates have argued that investigators are infringing on civil rights and collecting far more data than required.
Fiorina sided with the feds, saying that the recent cyber attacks on government agencies from state-sponsored hackers could have been thwarted if private companies were more accommodating.
"We know that we could have detected and repelled some of these cyber attacks if that collaboration had been permitted," she said.
Considered a long shot to win the Republican presidential nomination, Fiorina was not among the 10 candidates picked to take part in the main debate, but was instead relegated to the early "undercard" debate. Analysts studying the debate ruled Fiorina among the "winners" in the event.
The former CEO, who oversaw HP's massive 2001 merger with Compaq and was booted from the job in 2005, has since embarked on a political career. In 2010, she ran unsuccessfully for one of California's two Senate positions. ®