Tech firms back up Apple in court

Tech firms back up Apple in court
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Twitter, Airbnb and LinkedIn are among 17 technology companies that filed a brief Thursday in support of Apple in its court battle with the FBI over whether it should be required to create software meant to help the agency access secured data.

The firms are among the boldface names from the industry backing Apple.


“This extraordinary and unprecedented effort to compel a private company to become the government’s investigative arm not only has no legal basis under the All Writs Act or any other law, but threatens the core principles of privacy, security, and transparency that underlie the fabric of the Internet,” the companies said.

At issue is whether Apple should create new software that would help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of  the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters. The two parties are battling it out in federal court in a case that has become proxy fight for a larger debate over how tech companies should work with law enforcement to access secured data.

“By circumventing the procedures adopted by Congress, and thereby overturning the careful weighing of policy considerations they reflect, the government is seeking to enlist the judiciary in re-writing laws without engaging in an essential public debate,” the companies said.

“While Amici are sensitive to the emotionally charged atmosphere that can surround investigations such as this one, a meaningful discourse on this topic is critical for all members of our society as we strive to meet the challenge of finding the proper balance between privacy and liberty interests and the dangers posed by criminal and national-security threats.”

The signatories to the brief also include Medium, Reddit, Square, eBay and Kickstarter, in addition to other firms.

Another brief was joined by more industry giants. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft were all signatories to the brief, along with smaller companies like Slack and Evernote.

They join several technology trade groups in supporting Apple.

Software association BSA, the Consumer Technology Association, ITI and TechNet filed a brief backing the company. Application developers association ACT also contributed a brief.

Industry leaders at other companies, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, have also voiced their support for Apple.

Many have suggested that the questions raised by the case are best answered by Congress. Apple has said it is supportive of a national commission on encryption, an idea proposed by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBiden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' White House advisers huddle with Senate moderates on infrastructure Biden risks break with progressives on infrastructure MORE (D-Va.).

Cory Bennett contributed.

This story was last updated on March 4 at 11:46 a.m.