March 3, 2016
IN A WIDE-RANGING show of solidarity, dozens of Apple’s tech industry competitors and contemporaries filed amicus briefs today in support of the company’s stand against the FBI. In one instance, heavyweights including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook set aside their corporate rivalries to file jointly. Twitter, Airbnb, Ebay, Reddit, and a half dozen other Internet luminaries joined forces to file another brief.
The briefs, which argue that Apple should not be compelled to create software to help the FBI break into an iPhone that had been in possession of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, are meant to bolster the Cupertino company’s legal case. Intel and AT&T—yes, the same AT&T that had a secret spying pact with the NSA—filed their briefs solo. The ACLU, Access Now, and the Wickr Foundation, and a group of security experts have lent their support as well, with more companies, experts, and institutions expected to join in by the end of the Thursday deadline set by the case’s judge Sheri Pym.
While this seems like a natural cause for the technology industry to rally behind, many tech leaders were initially slow to express support for Apple in the matter. As the New York Times reports, several companies also hesitated to support Apple publicly. Some expressed concern over whether this was the right fight to pick, while others worried about public perception.
Those concerns appear to have been allayed, at least on the part of the companies who filed Thursday. Their briefs in support of Apple are unequivocal, and use language as forceful as the company’s own.