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March 08, 2016

Comcast taps new executive to focus on privacy

Philly company hires new VP of product security amid Apple vs. FBI encryption battle

Technology Privacy
Carroll - Comcast Center Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Comcast Center

A new top executive at Comcast will focus on product privacy amid an ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI over consumer data. 

The Philadelphia-based company announced Monday that it has hired Noopur Davis to fill the recently created position of Senior Vice President of Product Security and Privacy for the Technology and Product team.

Davis previously served as vice president of Global Quality at Intel. While the timing of the new hire may seem to coincide with the public spat between Apple and federal law enforcement officials, a Comcast spokesperson told Al Dia News the new position had been in the works for a while:

"The creation of this position is the latest step in the journey we've been on" in enhancing product security and safety, the spokesman said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook sparked a national conversation over consumer privacy by refusing to unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

The FBI has contended that its request asks for minor help in getting past security features on the phone to find out more about the attacker, but Apple argues it would force the company to rewrite software, making its products more vulnerable to hacking from both authorities and criminals.

A New York judge ruled last month the FBI could not force Apple to unlock the phone, but the Justice Department has filed an appeal.

Monday's announcement also comes after Comcast was among several technology companies that public interest groups allege are attempting to monetize and leverage data from customers. Those groups are calling on the FCC to implement stronger broadband privacy rules.