The Apple vs. FBI congressional hearing
For two weeks, the country has been steeped in debate over the Apple vs. FBI debacle, and today the two sides of the argument are going to state their cases before the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing called “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy.”
On one side, the FBI wants to force Apple to help them get into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook; on the other side, Apple wants to maintain the security integrity of its devices and not set a precedent of the government forcing tech companies to develop workarounds to encryption.
The hearing is taking place in Washington, D.C., today at 1 p.m. EST. If you’re interested in watching the testimony live, it will broadcast online on C-SPAN3 and the House Judiciary Committee’s website.
Although one of the most vocal opponents of the FBI in this case, Apple CEO Tim Cook will not be representing Apple today. Bruce Sewell, senior vice president and general counsel of Apple, and Susan Landau, professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, will be speaking on Apple’s side. Cyrus Vance, Jr., New York County district attorney, will be representing law enforcement with FBI Director James B. Comey, who said last week that the discussion around the locked phone is the “hardest question I’ve seen in government.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers said in a statement, “As technology companies have made great strides to enhance the security of Americans’ personal and private information, law enforcement agencies face new challenges when attempting to access encrypted information. Americans have a right to strong privacy protections and Congress should fully examine the issue to be sure those are in place while finding ways to help law enforcement fight crime and keep us safe.”
“As we move forward,
our goal is to find a solution that allows law enforcement to effectively enforce the law without harming the competitiveness of U.S. encryption providers or the privacy protections of U.S. citizens
our goal is to find a solution that allows law enforcement to effectively enforce the law without harming the competitiveness of U.S. encryption providers or the privacy protections of U.S. citizens,” they said.
As for who will be hearing the two sides’ arguments, the House Judiciary Committee comprises 23 Republicans and 16 Democrats.
To be clear, this is only a hearing for the benefit of Congress, and no decisions or legislations will come out of the event today. Hearings allow U.S. lawmakers to better understand the situation from the eyes of both sides, and could help inform later decisions if they move to pass relevant legislation in the future.