Tech Giants To File Amicus Brief Supporting Apple In Its Fight Against FBI – Are Companies Indirectly Supporting San Bernardino Killers?

Tech companies are willing to file an amicus brief in court to show their support to Apple Inc. in its bitter spat with FBI over iPhone encryption. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon, and Autodesk have shown solidarity towards Apple Inc. as pressure mounts from the investigative agency to secure unbridled access to an iPhone used by one of the killers in the San Bernardino massacre.

As Apple Inc. continues to strongly defy the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over the latter’s insistence that the iPhone maker release tools that make it easier for investigators to unlock the smartphone, the company has found allies in the form of multiple tech companies who are willing to offer in-court support through an amicus brief.

Apple has made it amply clear that it will not comply with the FBI’s demand that it conjure up software tools that will help investigators bypass security measures that the company has built in its iPhones. On the contrary, Apple has insisted that FBI withdraw all of its demands. The company has strongly suggested that the only way to move forward is to form a commission of experts on intelligence, technology, and civil liberties to discuss “the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy, and personal freedoms,” reported BGR.

“The government’s request here creates an unprecedented burden on Apple and violates Apple’s First Amendment rights against compelled speech.”

Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said the company will file an amicus brief next week to support Apple, reported Tri-County Sun Times. Meanwhile, Amazon also confirmed it was exploring the “amicus brief options,” confirmed a spokesperson, reported Buzzfeed. The online retailer joins Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc. in voicing support for Apple, reported You Don’t Know Football.

CEO Tim Cook had recently equated the court order mandating the company to make a software tool that would override iPhone’s virtually unbreakable encryption to creating a cancer. He said this was because the hackable operating system he’d have to create would be used over and over, ultimately leaking outside of Apple’s labs and into the hands of other governments and potential hackers. In other words, Cook appears confident that the tool to break encryption would invariably make its way onto the back alleys of the internet and into the hands of people with nefarious or malicious intent, undoing all the work Apple has painstakingly done over the years to make iPhones virtually impenetrable.

With each subsequent iteration of the iPhone, Apple has successfully and exponentially scaled up the digital security, which denies access to user data stored on the device. Without the express consent of the user, it is nearly impossible for any person to gain access to confidential user data. However, the company insists that FBI, and in extension the government, is attempting to undermine the privacy of millions of people who use their smartphones with the confidence that their data is safe from prying eyes because of the safety features the company has deployed.


Speaking about the case, Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive officer, tweeted that asking companies to create a way to hack into people’s devices and data would set a “troubling precedent”.


FBI insists that it needs a way to override the security measures built into the iPhone that was used by one of the attackers in the December massacre in San Bernardino, California. While the agency might be right in expecting Apple to offer back-door access into the phone used by the attacker, should FBI expect the iPhone maker to offer a master key that would unlock all the devices?

[Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images]