Apple has been asked by the federal government to unlock an iPhone but the company does not want to do so. Some major tech companies are now rallying in support of Apple's decision.
A California court has ordered Apple to provide technical and software assistance for unlocking an iPhone 5c. According to the FBI, the phone in question belongs to the employer of Syed Rizwan Farook, who was responsible for the San Bernardino shooting with his wife. However, Rizwan was the one using the iPhone 5c at that time. The shooting wounded 22 people and killed 14 and the FBI is investigating the case.
Some market experts believe that if Apple loses the cas, it will be forced in creating backdoor software for the agency, which will result in damaging Apple's global brand name. Apple argues that the court does not have authority of forcing Apple to create such a backdoor and wants the court to overturn the order.
The court wants Apple to make a tool for unlocking the iPhone, which will be used only once. However, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple believes otherwise.
"The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that's simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices," says Cook. "In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks - from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable."
Facebook's CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg says that the company is against terrorism but also suggests that encryption is an important tool.
"We're sympathetic with Apple. We believe in encryption; we think that that's an important tool," says Zuckerberg. "I don't think requiring backdoors with encryption is either going to be an effective way to increase security or is really the right thing to do for just the direction that the world is going to."
Microsoft has also officially confirmed that it will file an amicus brief, a court filing that offers insights to a court case, and back Apple.
"We at Microsoft support Apple and will be filing an amicus brief next week," says Brad Smith, President of Microsoft.
Amazon is also expected to file an amicus brief in support of Apple.
"Yes, Amazon is working on amicus brief options," says an Amazon spokesperson.
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, has also voiced support for Apple. Google owns Android, which is the most popular mobile operating system in the world.
Jan Koum, the founder and CEO of WhatsApp, has also confirmed his support for Apple.
"I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance on privacy and Apple's efforts to protect user data and couldn't agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty are at stake," says Koum.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter and Square chief, has also tweeted of supporting Apple in its battle for encryption.
— Jack (@jack) 18 February 2016
Photo: Mike Deerkoski | Flickr