Apple, Google, Facebook skip legal
challenge to new travel ban
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[March 16, 2017]
By David Ingram
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc,
Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook Inc are among more than 60 technology
companies that appear to have backed away from the legal fight against
U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, deciding not to
put their weight behind a lawsuit seeking to block the second version of
his executive order.
A legal brief filed in federal court in Hawaii on Tuesday on behalf of
Silicon Valley companies listed the support of 58 companies, less than
half the 127 signatories to a similar brief filed in an appeals court
last month after Trump's first executive order banning travel from a
number of countries the administration said posed a security risk.
Airbnb Inc, Dropbox Inc and Kickstarter are among the companies that did
sign the brief.
Major tech companies that signed on to the earlier effort but not this
week included Microsoft Corp, eBay Inc, Intel Corp, Netflix Inc and
The lawsuit may succeed despite losing the overt support of such big
names. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu on Wednesday
ordered an emergency halt to Trump's executive order that aimed to
temporarily bar entry to the United States of most refugees as well as
travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. The halt is temporary.
Trump says the ban is necessary for U.S. national security, and called
Watson's order "unprecedented judicial overreach."
Tech companies, which generally rely on skilled workers from overseas
more than other industries, played a large part in the legal effort to
halt the first version of Trump's executive order, which was put on hold
by a Seattle judge in early February.
It was not immediately clear why fewer of them signed on to the
"friend-of-the-court" brief this time around.
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The Apple Inc. logo is shown outside the company's 2016 Worldwide
Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 13,
2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Companies will have an opportunity to join the effort as it moves
through the court system, said Robert Atkins, a New York lawyer and
co-author of the brief. "We do expect the group to expand."
Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc was in the process of
adding its name, a spokesman said.
Box Inc, a file-sharing service, said that although it did not sign
the brief, there had been no change to its position.
A Twitter spokeswoman pointed to past company statements opposing
Trump's initial travel ban in January but declined to comment
further. A spokeswoman for Facebook declined to comment.
Representatives of Apple, Google, eBay, Intel, Microsoft and Netflix
did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Bill Rigby)
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