Tech companies file legal documents supporting Apple in San Bernardino case

Tech firms including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and LinkedIn all submitted legal briefs on Thursday, supporting Apple's fight against the US government which would see Apple create a backdoor for an iPhone if it were to lose.

Apple described the government's request for a backdoor into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone as a dangerous precedent which threatens customer security. A lot of people believe that if the US government forces Apple's hand in this case, it'll be easier to do in future.

The tech companies which filed legal briefs in support of Apple formed into two coalitions. The first, which includes Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Mozilla, Snapchat, Dropbox, and others said that the All Writs Act was invented before the light bulb and that it goes too far back to contend that the law can be used to force engineers to disable security protections. One caveat to this argument is that the act has been updated over the years.

The All Writs Act authorizes the US federal courts to "issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law."

The other coalition sent an alternative message in support of Apple which contended that the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994, along with other statutes, had already made it clear that "information service" companies should be exempted from allowing interception of communications.

Earlier on this week, a Brooklyn judge ruled that the US government could not seek similar assistance from Apple in a drug-related case, saying that it had overstepped its authority.

Source: Reuters | Image via Brian Turner / Flickr

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