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Six relatives of San Bernardino attack victims have filed a legal brief opposing Apple in its iPhone encryption battle with the FBI - as internet and technology giants rally behind the computer and phone giant.
The families argued Apple's arguments are misplaced because the FBI has a valid warrant, and "one does not enjoy the privacy to commit a crime".
The families also claimed Apple "routinely modifies its systems" to comply with Chinese government directives.
The family action came as two groups of leading technology and internet giants took legal action in support of Apple in the dispute over access to shooter Rizwan Farook's phone.
More than a dozen leading internet companies, including Twitter, Ebay, Linkedin and Airbnb, have taken legal action in support of Apple in its phone encryption battle with the FBI.
A total of 17 companies filed a combined legal brief backing Apple's resistance of demands it should help investigators access an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino killers.
A separate group led by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and several other Internet and technology companies are also understood to be due to file a joint legal brief asking a judge to support Apple.
Briefs are also expected in support of the US government in the dispute.
Investigators at the FBI want Apple to disable some of its passcode protection to enable them to access gunman Rizwan Farook's phone.
The FBI's demands for Apple to help access a dead gunman's phone are unconstitutional and put millions at risk, the tech giant warns.Read the full story ›
Tim Cook said complying with a court order to break into one of the San Bernardino attacker's phone would be "bad for America".Read the full story ›
Apple's boss says that the FBI should withdraw its demand to hack into a gunman's iPhone, insisting the request sets a dangerous precedent.Read the full story ›
Some of the victims of the San Bernardino attack will file a legal brief in support of the US government's attempt to force Apple to unlock the encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the shooters, their lawyer told Reuters.
Apple has vowed to fight a court order requesting that it help FBI investigators break into a phone used by one of the San Bernardino killers.
Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, killed 14 people and injured 21 others in an attack on an office Christmas party in the city of San Bernadino, in California.
Lawyer Stephen Larson told Reuters: "They were targeted by terrorists, and they need to know why, how this could happen."
The brief is expected to be filed by early March. Larson declined to say how many victims he represents.
The US government is seeking a court order in a bid to compel Apple to assist in the unlocking of the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone.
Earlier this week Apple's CEO Tim Cook said assisting the FBI would set a "dangerous precedent" and would lead to the creation of a "backdoor" into millions of iPhones worldwide.