Multiple technology companies have been offering support to Apple during the FBI encrypted iPhone dispute, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation is among the many organizations that disagree with the government’s request to break into an iPhone. Yesterday, the EFF filed an amicus brief in support of Apple’s fight against the court order.
The brief is written on behalf of 46 prominent technologists, security researchers, and cryptographers who develop and rely on secure technologies and services that are central to modern life. The brief explains that the court’s order would violate Apple’s First Amendment rights because the right to free speech prohibits the government from ordering those who do not wish to speak to speak. It also prohibits the act of writing and signing computer code, because code is considered a form of protected speech.
It was on Feb. 25 that Apple filed its motion to vacate the order of magistrate judge Sheri Pym, of the Federal District Court for the District of Central California, to write and sign the new code in support of the FBI’s ongoing investigation of last December’s San Bernardino shooting. Apple argued that creating and signing code is an expansion of the 1789 All Writs Act, the law the government is relying on in this case, according to the EFF.
The EFF argued that the government is forcing Apple and its programmers to write and sign the code necessary to comply with the judge’s order, and it is therefore a violation of the First Amendment because it puts security and privacy of millions at risk.
Along with the EFF, other Apple supporters included Amazon, Cisco, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Snapchat. According to Reuters, Intel also filed a brief of its own in support of Apple. The Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society filed a separate brief as well.
These companies that are backing Apple agree with the iPhone maker’s main argument, which is that the All Writs Act cannot be used to force companies to create a new technology, according to Reuters.
Some victim’s families do not agree with Apple’s argument, and they believe that the argument on free speech isn’t valid. They have said that “This is the electronic equivalent of unlocking a door; no expression is involved at all,” according to Reuters.
The court will hear the argument on Apple’s motion to vacate at 1 p.m. on March 22 is Riverside, Calif. The EFF hopes that the judge will reconsider what it believes to be a “dangerous and unconstitutional order.”