Microsoft Throws Its Full Support Behind Apple In iPhone Encryption Case

A number of companies quickly came to Apple’s defense when the FBI sent its attack dogs to force the company to provide access to a passcode-locked iPhone 5c. Those tech giants included Google, Facebook and Twitter, but conspicuously missing was Microsoft. Sure, we heard from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, but his commentary was far from a ringing endorsement for Apple’s actions.

Today, however, we’re getting a more full-throated response from Microsoft, and the Redmond, Washington-based company is “wholeheartedly” throwing its full support behind Apple. “We at Microsoft support Apple and will be filing an amicus brief next week,” said Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith.

Microsoft’s reasoning for offering its support for Apple is quite clear. Any case that involves encryption that affects Apple has the potential to send shockwaves throughout the entire tech industry, with Smith explaining, “Every case has implications for others.”

microsoft brad smith
Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith

Smith also took aim at the All Writs Act, which the FBI is using as justification to compel Apple to bow down to its demands. “We do not believe that courts should seek to resolve issues of 21st Century technology with a law that was written in the era of the adding machine,” Smith opined.

In other Apple encryption news, both Apple and the FBI will be seated before the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee on March 1st at 1PM EST. Committee members will hear from both sides during two separate panels. The first witness panel will feature FBI Director James Comey, while the second witness panel will be headlined by Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell. He will be joined by Susan Landau, a Professor at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

The hearing is appropriately titled, “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy.”