Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are throwing their weight behind Apple in the company's fight to avoid complying with a Federal court order to develop a version of iOS that lets the FBI launch brute force attacks on iPhone passcodes. The companies are joining together to file an amicus, or friend of the court, brief calling the court order a danger to privacy and security.
Silicon Valley companies to file amicus brief supporting Apple in privacy fight
According to sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal, the companies will file a joint brief with the court next week. Microsoft's Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith confirmed today his company would be supporting Apple in its brief.
Twitter is planning on submitting an amicus brief as well, and may be part of the Google, Microsoft, and Facebook brief.
The companies are supporting Apple in its effort to avoid complying with a court order forcing it to develop a version of iOS that removes the security features preventing a brute force attack on iPhone passcodes. The FBI wants the special iOS version so it can hack into the iPhone used by Syed Farook before he opened fire on his San Bernardino County coworkers, killing 14 and injuring 22 more.
Apple called the order a government overreach and said it would set a dangerous precedent where companies would be compelled to weaken security features on devices that encrypt data. CEO Tim Cook equated the court order to creating a cancer 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.
News of Silicon Valley's unified support comes along with news that Apple is already working to remove the potential data access points it has into our iOS devices and iCloud data. In essence, Apple is trying to create products that no one—not even its own engineers—can hack into.
Considering four big names from the tech community have committed to a filing an amicus brief supporting Apple, it's likely we'll see more companies follow suit. That's good news for Apple and other tech companies because the court order poses a serious threat to privacy and security should it stand.