Tech Giants Support Apple in iPhone Privacy Dispute with FBI

Munger, Tolles & Olson filed an amicus brief on behalf of a group of 17 technology and social-media companies – including LinkedIn, Twitter, Airbnb and eBay – in the dispute between Apple and the FBI over whether a federal court may order Apple to write software code the FBI contends is needed to unlock the phone of one of the alleged shooters in the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

Filed on March 3, 2016, Munger Tolles’ brief argues that the FBI’s demand would set a dangerous precedent and “threatens the core principles of privacy, security, and transparency that underlie the fabric of the Internet.” The brief emphasizes that Congress has declined to give the FBI the power to order Apple and other companies to redesign their own security systems, and contends that the federal All Writs Act “cannot be used to circumvent the limitations established through the legislative process and the vital public debate accompanying it.”

Calling Munger Tolles a “major player in Silicon Valley intellectual property disputes,” Forbes wrote that the matter has “unif[ied] two groups often at odds: tech companies on one side, and privacy and security advocates on the other.” The Munger Tolles brief has received extensive media coverage, including in the New York Times, Washington Post, Fortune, Vanity Fair, CNN, and Mashable.  The news stories have noted the unified front presented by such a large number of leading tech companies.

The Munger Tolles attorneys who filed the brief include Jonathan H. Blavin, Jerome C. Roth, Rosemarie T. Ring, Joshua Patashnik and Ariel C. Green. To view the brief in its entirety, please click here.