Over the last few weeks a battle has been ongoing both in the legal domain and in public via social media. The battle is that of the topic of encryption and at the heart of it, lies the position of Apple as a defender of the smartphone owner’s rights to privacy, against the U.S. Government’s position as defender of the public’s safety. To briefly recap and in the very shortest of terms, the FBI asked Apple to help gain access to an encrypted iPhone and Apple said no.
Since the initial reports, the debate has swelled in the media and largely thanks to a number of tech companies coming out and defending Apple’s position on the matter, companies showing their support spans the industry spectrum and includes the likes of Google. Shorty after the initial reports, additional reports came out suggesting that Google, Microsoft and Facebook were all planning to file court motions to further (and publicly) voice their support of Apple and encryption. These motions were to come in the form of an amicus filing (friends of the court).
The latest on this is that according to a report emerging from Reuters, today is the day when the three named companies will be filing their motion of support. They will file together as a joint motion, along with a number of other currently unnamed companies and the joint filing will look to ask the judge to side with Apple in the ongoing case. Of course, this will not be the only amicus filing as one was filed yesterday by various privacy advocacy groups as well, although with today being the deadline for the submission of briefs, it seems highly likely that Google and the rest will be filing theirs today as well. An assumption which the latest report seems to be confirming by “sources familiar with the companies’ plans.” Whether the filing does make a difference to the eventual outcome of the case remains to be seen. However, the joint voicing of support from so many companies who are normally competing against each other, will carry weight and will likely be seen as the communal voice of the tech industry.