Tech industry giants file joint amicus brief supporting Apple vs the FBI

by: Robert TriggsMarch 4, 2016


As was expected, a number of tech industry giants have signed and filed a joint amicus brief with the courts that backs Apple’s position on device encryption and user privacy in its ongoing debate with the FBI.

There is a growing list of companies that have formally backed Apple in the case, either through the joint filing or through their own briefs. Names supporting the cause now include Google, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, eBay, Reddit, Mozilla and Amazon, to name just a handful.

This is all related to the issue of whether or not current US laws allow for the FBI, or other law enforcement agencies, to compel companies to break encryption used in consumer electronics. The fear is that the current case involving Apple could undermine the security of user data across the industry, as encryption methods would be made exploitable. By filing the document, the group is urging the US District Court in California to overturn a motion that would compel Apple to comply with the FBI’s request to assist in the decryption of a smartphone in a criminal case.

“We believe the issues raised by the Apple case are too important to rely on a narrow statute from a different technological era to fill the Government’s perceived gap in current law. Instead we should look to Congress to strike the balance needed for 21st century technology.” – Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith

The brief explains that its members already regularly assist law enforcement agencies with their investigations, but takes issue with the way that the “All Writs Act” is being used by the FBI to force Apple to undermine its own security measures that are designed to protect consumers. The group suggests that there is no legal basis for using this centuries-old statute to essentially force tech companies to perform investigations on behalf of the government. The group seeks a ruling from the Congress to update the laws to more accurately reflect the realities of modern technology.

The document also outlines company concerns about undermining user privacy and security, due to the precedent that this ruling will set, and there are definitely some valid points in there. If you feel so inclined, you can read the full document below.

  • tiger

    Amazon? Lol. Didn’t they turn OFF encryption completely in latest OS?

    Android? How about END-TO-END encryption on Google services? That would be a good start!

    MS? Isn’t this the company that spied on a media member Hotmail account without permission/warrant just because it suspected something?

    Facebook? LOL. DATA collection agency extraordinaire!

    These support briefs are a joke from the biggest hypocrites in the tech world. These will help Apple very little if at all.

    • sri charan

      All of the data collection and usage is automated….no employee of any company can access a single individual’s phone or data which the US govt. wants…

      • tiger

        You sure about that?

        Didn’t Google help police catch pedophile in 2014?

        MS did similar a few years ago.

        Oh no, why do you think NONE of Google services have end-to-end encryption?!!!

  • Magwheelz

    And if any of their family members were kidnapped or any other scenario..and getting into the phone could save their lives-they’d be demanding Apple get to work on it asap. Same for Tim Cook or one of his employees or even an Apple secret about to be exposed.

    • Diego

      uh, The NSA can already intercept phone calls and text messages with out getting into the phone.

      • Magwheelz

        Then that would, or should have been, Apple’s argument.

        • Diego

          sure, but the FBI wanted to unlock all phones so they can spy.

          • Magwheelz

            That’s the claim but that’s not what the court order allows nor has Apple allowed that to happen when they helped law enforcement in the past

          • Scr-U-gle

            There is a queue of iPhones and officials waiting for this case to go the FBIs way.

            This isn’t a only once deal, and besides, once it has been done, it will get out. Do you think government agencies are not sending undercover agents into Apple for interviews?

            If the US can still find a job for Oliver North after the Contra debacle, regard Reagan as a hero after he oversaw drug running into the US and still pump there fist over another terrorist group they founded (ISIS) then you really are far to trusting.

            I am a billionaire prince who has had my assets frozen, can you send me $5,000 dollars and your bank details please?!?

          • Magwheelz

            As there were a queue of iPhones and officials waiting in the past and Apple had no problem with.

            It will only get out if Apple is that incompetent. You’d have to say none of their secrets are secure, if that is the case.

          • Scr-U-gle

            …are you going to make a point?

            All you’ve done is affirm that Apple shouldn’t do it.

            What about when an American is arrested in China and the government there ask apple to unlock his phone?

            You do realise that the Chinese government do not ask for this kind of access.

    • Diego

      anyone who’s smart, uses a burner phone.

      • Magwheelz

        How does that help if law enforcement has that phone in their hands…

        • Diego

          A burner phone has nothing besides calls on it.

          • Magwheelz

            That is not true… But that still has nothing to do with the phone we’re talking about here

        • tiger

          Google this: Blackphone.

          • Magwheelz

            Yeah I’ve seen those.

    • tiger

      And you think that terrorists just discovered encryption now? And that Apple just now taught terrorist how to encrypt?

      • Magwheelz

        Not sure what that has to do with what I said..nor what you’re getting at. Apple encrypts the phones..if the terrorists were to do anything it’d be to try to hack into them. In this case the terrorist is dead.

        • Diego

          He was saying that terrorists can already encrypt phones.

    • Myamo

      Anyone in that situation would do anything to get their children back. Reading everyone’s emails, messages, entering houses without warrants, interrogations, torture, more?

      Who wouldn’t do everything and anything to get a kidnapped child back? But, you just can’t throw everything out the window as soon as something bad happens. Because it does, everyday.

      • Magwheelz

        And every day they get warrants etc and dig into things to solve crimes.

  • Nallaikumaran

    Who fucking cares. Apple news site? Shameless Apple Authority! Apple is a biggest fraud company, Apple to pay €318 million fine for tax fraud in Italy

    Why Apple blocks Samsung phone sales in the court case. Because Samsung is only the brand, that can fuck Apple. This happens only in the USA. Apple wants to destroy Samsung. This is an Apple fascism. Apple is a dishonest company.

    • Capt Oblivious

      You mad, bro?

      • Nallaikumaran

        Thank you, Same to u.

        • luminelx64


    • tiger

      A series of scandals in the last decade led to the conviction of several Samsung executives for bribing politicians. In 2008 Lee Kun-Hee – Korea’s richest man – was forced to quit as group chairman and fined $100m after being convicted of tax evasion and breach of trust following an investigation sparked by the wiretaps. But a year later the country’s pro-business president Lee Myung-bak controversially pardoned him. Samsung’s leader took full responsibility for the shame caused by the investigation, but denied wrongdoing. “I didn’t do it. I never thought it [Samsung Group] was a criminal organisation, and I think it is [the media’s] fault to define it that way,” said Mr Lee, who has since returned to Samsung Electronics as chairman.

      For many, the scandals and their denouement seemed to confirm their worst suspicions: that influence peddling and bribery had helped make the empire founded by Mr Lee’s father, the late Lee Byung-chul, almost untouchable since its early days as a textile firm in the 1930s. The family’s business clout is vast: Lee’s daughter runs a luxury hotel chain; his son is chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics; his brother runs a food and entertainment empire; his nephew runs a franchise that includes Starbucks; his sister married into the LG Group. Mr Lee himself transformed the empire he took over from his father a quarter of a century ago, taking it global and multiplying revenues by a factor of 40. Famously telling his employees to “change everything but your wife and kids”, Lee Kun-Hee returned from disgrace to become chairman of Samsung Electronics, the biggest money-maker in the group whose activities range from construction to shipbuilding and finance.

      According to The Economist, The “Samsung group”, has no legal identity: its 83 firms shelter under an umbrella company in which the Lee family has a controlling 46 per cent stake. Whistleblower Kim Yong-chul, a former chief lawyer for the group, claimed that the company established a $200m slush fund to buy off politicians and prosecutors. He claims his tell-all book, Thinking of Samsung, documenting widespread corruption, price-fixing and bribery inside the Samsung empire, has been effectively blacklisted by the Korean media.

    • tiger

      Yeah, you may want to look at Samsung dude before calling out another company for being “dishonest.”

      Your ignorance is profound and embarrassing for other Android fans.

  • HotelQuebec

    Cook is super secretive because he doesn’t want his butt s3x pics to leak. And, in China Apple freely hand over dissident to the government.

    • Diego

      In china?
      They aloud the government of china to check the source code so they could make sure there were no back doors.

    • tiger


    • Scr-U-gle

      You need to stop pretending to be so anti gay and come out the closet, you might pass as a human being if you did!

  • Emilio F. Marbán Trovato

    Don’t think that is “your” information, is a killer (or maybe a terrorist) we’re talking here. I think, in some cases it’s necessary to get the information…

    Is because people like them that we need Jack Bauer

  • Scr-U-gle

    Still talking dribble. Are you not tired of talking nonsense.

    Still making no points again.

    Any evidence of your nonsense? Didn’t think so.

    I’ll have a Coke with my meal, chop-chop