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Silicon Valley rallies behind Apple in San Bernadino iPhone case

More than 40 companies support Cupertino
Apple In Court
March 3, 2016

The saga behind the San Bernadino iPhone 5c is about to heat up again, as Apple and the Department of Justice begin their court battle on March 22. At stake is the possibility of Cupertino being forced to create a back door into iOS, and The New York Times points out a surprising number of Apple’s competitors and business colleagues who are showing their support for the tech giant’s stance.

Who is in Apple's corner?

"We stand against the use of broad authorities to undermine the security of a company’s products," said Dropbox general counsel Ramsey Hominy.

- The New York Times

Apple’s supporters include such big names as Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Snapchat and Yahoo. It’s taken time to draw this favor, though, as several of the companies’ lawyers discussed and debated the issue for quite some time before deciding to lend their support to Apple. Worry about the consequences should Apple lose its case made for a strong influencing factor.

What can these tech companies do to help?

Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel, expressed Apple's gratitude for the support. “The groups filing briefs with the court understand, as more and more people have come to realize, that this case is not about one phone — it is about the future and how we protect our safety and our privacy.”

- The New York Times

Each of the more than 40 tech companies rallying behind Apple has agreed to file amicus briefs ahead of the court battle. Amicus briefs are filed by parties not directly involved in a court case in order to provide additional information to an argument, while also adding further weight and context to the discussion.

What does it mean?

The outpouring of support rallying behind Apple signifies an almost unified consensus among Silicon Valley that the government is overreaching its authority. After all, the government is trying to use the All Writs Act, a more than 200-year-old piece of legislation, to bolster its case. What truly needs to happen is a debate over such issues in Congress, as Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell argued for yesterday, March 2, before the House Judicial Committee.