Google, Facebook and other powerful tech firms filing briefs to support Apple

More than 25 major technology firms, media organizations and civil liberties groups are filing briefs this week in support of Apple’s effort to block the U.S. government from forcing the company to help unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

Microsoft, Verizon, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo are among the tech and telecom giants preparing to file or join friend-of-the-court briefs, according to industry lawyers.

Those involved say the swell of support is unparalleled, especially for a case at the magistrate judge level — the lowest level of the federal court system. The filings also indicate the level of anxiety among companies about the possibility of a legal precedent greatly expanding the limits of what the government can force a company to do in criminal and national security probes.

Meanwhile, law enforcement groups and families of some of the 14 killed in the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, Calif., are filing briefs in support of the government.

At issue is whether prosecutors and the FBI, citing a law that dates to 1789, can force Apple to write computer code to disable a safety feature on an iPhone recovered after the attack, which killed 14 people. The bureau wants to have a chance to crack the phone’s passcode to get at the encrypted contents on the device.

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Camilla Wood

UK based Legal Aid Lawyer

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