(REUTERS) - Edward Snowden and others on Twitter rallied on Wednesday in support of Apple's opposition to a US court order to help federal investigators by unlocking an iPhone used by one of the shooters in December's deadly attack in San Bernardino, California.
"Apple" and "San Bernardino" were trending heavily as topics on Twitter following Apple chief executive Tim Cook's decision to fight the order by a federal judge in Los Angeles that Apple provide "reasonable technical assistance" to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the case.
Cook on Tuesday called the order, issued that day, "a dangerous precedent," adding in a statement on Apple's website that "the implications of the government's demands are chilling."
Cook's and Apple's response to the demand was viewed positively overall on Twitter, according to social media analytics firm Zoomph.
Snowden was among several high-profile digital privacy advocates who weighed in.
"The @FBI is creating a world where citizens rely on #Apple to defend their rights, rather than the other way around," said a tweet from the former National Security Agency contractor(@Snowden).
Snowden, who is accused of violating US espionage laws by leaking details of government surveillance programmes, now lives in Russia.
Prominent technology writer and entrepreneur Anil Dash (@anildash) tweeted, "Apple showing exceptional leadership resisting demands to weaken its encryption."
Several Twitter and Facebook users applauded Apple's statement by using the hashtag #standwithapple.
Peter M (@monkieboy99) said: "Thank you @tim-cook for continuing to put the security of Apple customers first. #Apple #iPhone #standwithapple"
But the support on Twitter for Apple's stance was not unanimous.
Ian Bremmer (@ianbremmer), the president of Eurasia Group, a political risk research and consulting firm, tweeted, "Didn't realize you can just oppose a judge's order as if it was a request. #Apple #ThinkDifferent."
Current and former Apple employees also weighed in, wishing Cook the best in his opposition to the order.
"I've said it before, and I say it again: @tim-cook is amazing and I stand behind every bit of this. Thank you, Tim," wrote Jade Pennig (@zahnster), a user interface engineer at Apple, according to her LinkedIn page.
Jan-Michael Cart (@jammiesblvd), who lists Apple as a former employer in his Twitter bio, tweeted on Wednesday, "Give 'em hell, @tim-cook."