Apple vs. FBI: Tech giants line up to support Apple in court

A protestor holds up an iPhone that reads, 'No Entry' outside of the the Apple store on 5th Avenue on February 23, 2016 in New York City. Protestors gathered to support Apple's decision to resist the FBI's pressure to build a 'backdoor' to the iPhone of Syed Rizwan, one of the two San Bernardino shooters. Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

A growing list of tech companies have vowed to stand behind Apple in court as it asks a federal magistrate to reverse her order forcing the company to help the FBI hack an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.

On Thursday, Apple filed the order, accusing the federal government of seeking “dangerous power” through the courts and of trampling on its constitutional rights.

“The government says: ‘Just this once’ and ‘Just this phone.’ But the government knows those statements are not true,” read Apple’s filing.

But Apple won’t be alone in its battle – many tech companies have confirmed they will file “friend of the court” briefs in support of Apple’s case.


During U.S. House Judiciary Committee Hearing Thursday, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith declared Microsoft “wholeheartedly” supports Apple and said the company would be filing a brief to support the case.

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According to a person familiar with the situation, Google is currently drafting an amicus brief in support, the Associated Press reported.


Twitter also plans to support Apple in a court filing, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. A tweet from a Twitter spokesperson Thursday appeared to confirm the company’s commitment.


Facebook will also show its support by filing a “friend of the court” brief.


An Amazon spokesperson told Buzzfeed News the company is “working on amicus brief options.”


Yahoo will also file a document in support of Apple, according to Buzzfeed News.

Apple vs. FBI: What happens next?

March 3: This is the deadline for any supporters or opponents of the case to file “friend of the court” briefs, stating their stance on the matter. A number of leading tech companies – including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter – have vowed to file a brief in support of Apple.

March 10: The government will have a chance to respond to Apple’s order asking the federal magistrate to reverse her order.

March 15: Once the government has issued its final response, Apple will have a chance to reply by this date.

March 22: Lawyers representing both Apple and the FBI will appear in a district court in California. Each side will argue their case to the magistrate judge, who is expected to hand down her ruling shortly after. The losing party will have the option to appeal the ruling.

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