Apple has amassed a considerable number of supporters that have filed amicus briefs and sent Letters to the Court in support of the company, but there are still some high-profile players that haven’t.
Apple has been embroiled in a high-profile legal battle with the FBI after being ordered by a court to help crack the iPhone of the deceased Syed Farook who, along with his wife Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and injured 22 others in San Bernardino, California, in December.
The tech giant has warned that creating a backdoor by compromising the encryption on the iPhone would compromise the security of millions of people.
Very quickly, Apple gained the support of other tech giants, including Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), Facebook and Twitter.
That list has grown and now Apple has published a full list showing the extent of support it has received from tech giants, including support from more than 32 law professors, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Business Software Alliance, Dropbox, Evernote, eBay GitHub, Yahoo, Privacy International and Human Rights Watch.
Letters to the Court have been filed by the Center for Media Justice and David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
Apple’s biggest rival in the smartphone space, Samsung, hasn’t yet filed an amicus brief but has said that it also opposes the ideas of creating backdoors into encryption systems, which Apple CEO Tim Cook has likened to creating the “software equivalent of cancer”.
“Hackers and cyber-criminals could use this to wreak havoc on our privacy and personal safety,” Apple’s legal counsel Bruce Sewell told the US Congress this week.
Bizarrely, while filing an amicus brief in support of Apple, Amazon has reportedly disabled the option to use encryption to protect data on its Android devices.
According to Motherboard, Amazon has quietly removed support for device encryption on the latest version of Fire OS, a custom version of Android that powers Amazon’s tablets and smartphones.
A new update means that users who had encryption have either to decline to install the update or install the update and have their data unencrypted.
Does Amazon know something the rest of us don’t?
The full list of Apple’s allies in iPhone encryption row with FBI
iPhone security and applied cryptography experts, including Dino Dai Zovi, Dan Boneh (Stanford), Charlie Miller, Dr. Hovav Shacham (UC San Diego), Bruce Schneier (Harvard), Dan Wallach (Rice) and Jonathan Zdziarski
Letters to the Court
US Supreme Court image via Shutterstock