BY JENNIFER DETRANI, GENERAL COUNSEL
Today, Wickr, alongside 16 other global technology companies who jointly serve over a billion internet users worldwide, filed an amicus brief in the Central District of California in support of Apple.
In the brief, we jointly express our views on the detrimental effects of forcing a private company to affirmatively develop software to break its own security. The brief details how the government’s request has no legal basis under the All Writs Act or any other law, and circumvents crucial public debate on this critical matter – which is a key component of a free and democratic society. In fact, it is this public discourse afforded by legislative rule making that is essential for our society as we struggle with challenging questions about how far we should go in sacrificing liberty and privacy to protect our national security. For that reason, and others, we stand alongside our peers within the technology community as amici, to strongly urge the Court to grant Apple’s motion to vacate the order.
As this brief makes clear, technology backdoors, whether general or built for specific and supposedly limited purposes, create an opportunity for criminals and hackers to exploit and harm all users. And at a time of heightened cyber concerns over national critical infrastructure and information networks, mandating that technologists undermine their own security architecture – which is carefully designed and tested over extensive periods of time – creates a strong disincentive for innovation and trust.
Wickr firmly supports strong encryption standards for all users and technologies. Everyone – no matter whether they are individual, business or government entities - deserves security when exchanging valuable data and communications over global networks. Financially speaking, criminal attacks against people and organizations across the globe come at a price of billions of dollars annually. For those reasons, Wickr’s core mission remains as strong today as it was when we first launched: to empower all users to withstand large-scale, sophisticated and coordinated threats by raising the table stakes on security through our proprietary technology.
That said, we recognize and respect the government’s important work in law enforcement and national security. Therefore, while we oppose any forced backdoors into technology, we remain committed to assisting law enforcement in investigating crimes and protecting society by complying with proper and reasonable requests for assistance pursuant to valid legal processes.
It is important to recognize, as we argue in the brief, that as companies which provide valuable tools for communications, commerce, collaboration and security, we recognize the significance of this case for not only the technology industry and the trust our users place in the integrity of our services, but also for the greater good of our society and the core principles of privacy, security, and transparency that underlie the very fabric of the internet.