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Twitter, Airbnb, eBay, Kickstarter, LinkedIn and Square File Brief Supporting Apple

Airbnb, Automattic, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Square, Twilio, Twitter and Wickr joined in the filing.

Composite image by Re/code

Several prominent Silicon Valley companies — including Twitter, Airbnb, eBay, LinkedIn and Square — have joined Apple in its fight to preserve device encryption.

Some 17 companies whose technology collectively reaches hundred of millions of people filed a brief today, arguing that the government’s use of the centuries-old All Writs Act to force Apple to undermine its own carefully constructed device security is both extraordinary and unprecedented — and has no legal basis.

The companies acknowledge the role law enforcement plays in safeguarding national security. But they oppose the government’s efforts to force a private company like Apple to create software that does not currently exist in order to break its own security systems.

“The government’s demand here, at its core, is unbound by any legal limits,” the companies argue. “It would set a dangerous precedent, in which the government could sidestep established legal procedures authorized by thorough, nuanced statutes to obtain users’ data in ways not contemplated by lawmakers.”

In the brief, the companies argue that existing laws set rules for how law enforcement can seek help of third parties to further investigations. Congress, in enacting these laws, sought to strike a balance between the needs of law enforcement and users’ privacy and security.

The filing accuses the government, in its investigation of the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, of using the courts to do an end-run around Congress.

“By circumventing the procedures adopted by Congress, and thereby overturning the careful weighing of policy considerations they reflect, the government is seeking to enlist the judiciary in re-writing laws without engaging in an essential public debate,” the companies write in their legal filing.

Airbnb, Atlassian, Automattic, CloudFlare, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Mapbox, Medium, Meetup, Reddit, Square, Squarespace, Twilio, Twitter and Wickr joined in the filing.

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