Tech Titans to Back Apple in Court Fight Over Killer’s iPhone

Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Twitter will file legal arguments supporting Apple’s defiance of a court order

Last Updated: February 26, 2016 @ 9:13 AM

Titans of the tech industry won’t be wringing their hands about where they stand on Apple’s fight with the FBI over a locked terrorist’s iPhone.

Social network Twitter confirmed to TheWrap that it expects to participate next week in a brief supporting Apple in its case fighting a court order to help the FBI unlock a terrorist’s phone. Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith confirmed the company’s plans to file a brief supporting Apple during testimony Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

Tech giants Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet are expected present a united front with Microsoft, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Their joint filing — a so-called “friend of the court” or amicus brief — should include at least one other tech firm, according to the report.

Facebook and Alphabet didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

In the week and a half since Apple first proclaimed its stance to defy the court order, major consumer technology companies have slowly — and moderately — made signs of support for the company and Cook.

Google, which operates the Android software that powers the majority of the world’s smartphones, was one of the earliest weigh in, with CEO Sundar Pichai saying that the Justice Department and FBI’s request could set “a troubling precedent” of requiring companies to enable hacking of their own customers.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted a brief statement of support for Cook, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social-network company was “sympathetic” to Apple. “We believe in encryption,” he said.

The planned filings, amicus or friend-of-the-court briefs, are documents submitted by a party that isn’t directly involved in a case at hand but has an opinion on the matter it wishes the court to consider.