New lawsuits filed against Apple and Microsoft have added to mounting pressure on tech companies to provide information on their finances and whether they are in danger of insolvencing.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyer Guild filed an amicus brief arguing that Apple and other tech companies are not entitled to legal protections if they are unable to provide the documents requested by the plaintiffs.
The ACLU said Apple’s failure to provide “information” violates the privacy and freedom of speech rights of plaintiffs, as well as their rights to privacy, publicity and equal protection under the law.
Microsoft and Twitter have already agreed to turn over the requested information to the plaintiffs, the ACLU said.
Apple has denied any wrongdoing in the lawsuits, which the company said were filed to “ensure that the public has access to the information that is critical to understanding how our technology works.”
The plaintiffs argue that Apple has been unable to comply with a number of deadlines and other terms of the contracts, including those related to transparency, due to the ongoing legal battle with Microsoft.
The company has agreed to provide a summary of its financial statements to the public, but has not provided a public accounting of how it plans to pay its debt to Microsoft, according to the filing.
The complaint argues that the terms of any new contracts with Microsoft or other technology companies “will require the disclosure of significant portions of the company’s financial information” as well.
In addition, the plaintiffs argue, the documents will likely be withheld from any public release of those documents, which could be used to attack the tech companies.
The government’s demand for the information was met last week when Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook wrote a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in which he asked for the company to comply.
In the letter, Cook requested that the government release “any relevant material,” including the company and other technology firms’ financial statements.
The lawsuit also alleges that Microsoft, which is headquartered in Redmond, Washington, has withheld information from a public release by the government.
The government said in the filing that it is requesting the release of Microsoft’s financial statements for each of the past three years, and the release is due in July.