Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is supporting Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in its legal battle against the demand of the United States government to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to unlock the iPhone owned by the terrorist in the San Bernardino massacre in December.
Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said the company will file an amicus brief next week to support Apple. He made the statement during the Congressional hearing on the need for new legislation on privacy, security, and law enforcement in the era of internet-based cloud services.
Apple rejected a court order requiring it to create a new software to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) unlock the iPhone 5C owned by Syed Rizwan Farook.
Apple will never create new software to unlock iPhone
In an interview with ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook said creating a new tool for the San Bernardino case is equivalent to a “cancer” and it is a “very dangerous operating system.”
He emphasized that the case is not just about one phone but it is about the future. The case could set a legal precedent that could put hundreds of millions of customers at risk and “trample” civil liberties. Cook said Apple will stand tall on its principle and will fight the court order.
When asked about Apple’s argument that the case is not just about one phone, Smith responded that “every case has implications for others.”
Last week, Microsoft participated in an industry group that released a statement indicating that it is extremely important to prevent crime and terrorism, but no company should be required to build backdoors to its own technology.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates clarifies opinion on the issue
In an interview with Bloomberg TV earlier this week, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he was disappointed by the report indicating the he supports the government on the issue. Gates said the report did not accurately reflect his opinion.
The Financial Times reported that Gates supported the government on the issue, stating that the court order was a one-time request and “no different” from accessing bank and telephone records.
“That doesn’t state my view on this. The extreme view that government always gets everything, nobody supports that. Having the government be blind, people don’t support that,” said Gates.
In a separate hearing on Thursday, FBI Director James Comey admitted that the case may set a precedent, but he emphasized that the government’s intention is not to send a message.