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Internet giants rally behind Apple in FBI iPhone dispute

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.

Apple has earned more support over its refusal to help the FBI access the mobile phone of a gunman involved in the killings of 14 people in San Bernardino. Credit: Reuters

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.

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Victims of San Bernardino attack support government in Apple case

Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. Credit: FBI

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.

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