Tech companies unite behind Apple before court ruling

Alphabet’s Google, Facebook, Microsoft and several other Internet and technology companies will file a joint legal brief on Thursday asking a judge to support Apple in its encryption battle with the U.S. government, sources familiar with the companies’ plans said.

The effort is a rare display of unity and support for the iPhone maker from companies which are competitors in many areas, and shows the breadth of Silicon Valley’s opposition to the government’s anti-encryption effort.

The fight between Apple and the government became public last month when the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a court order requiring Apple to write new software and take other measures to disable passcode protection and allow access to an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters in December.

Apple has pushed back, arguing that such a move would set a dangerous precedent and threaten customer security. The clash has intensified a long-running debate over how much law enforcement and intelligence officials should be able to monitor digital communications.