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It would normally be awkward asking a group of companies worth more than $4-trillion for help. But the leaders of Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google sat up and listened when President Joe Biden sought their co-operation last week in protecting US infrastructure from cyberthreats. They were not just being polite.

All four firms are facing lawsuits or probes from the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department. All four need to maintain cordial relations with the US government. Biden probably did not bring that up during his discussions with Apple’s Tim Cook or Google’s Satya Nadella at the White House cybersecurity summit on August 25, but the cases will have hung in the air like an unpleasant smell. Detected by all and never remarked on.  ..

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