Apple to Testify in House Committee Hearing on Encryption
Apple will testify on March 1 before the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing titled “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy.” The hearing follows a federal judge court order earlier this month requiring Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance to assist law enforcement agents in obtaining access to the data” on an iPhone used by one of the terrorists responsible for the December attack in San Bernardino, Calif. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has said that Apple will not comply with the order, which he says could create a dangerous precedent and “backdoor” to unlock any iPhone. The company last week filed a motion to reverse the judge’s order. The FBI previously has suggested that the scope of its request was limited to this specific case, but FBI Director James B. Comey told a Congressional panel last week that the outcome of the case would be “instructive to other courts.”
Tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, are expected to file “friend of the court” briefs this week on Apple’s behalf, according to reports.
“The implications of the government’s demands are chilling,” Cook said in a letter to customers on the matter. “If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”
In addition Apple’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell, FBI Director Comey; Susan Landau, professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., will testify.
The Judiciary Committee previously held member briefings on encryption, which included a briefing from technology companies and a classified briefing from the government.
This hearing will be held in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be Webcast live at http://judiciary.house.gov/.