Apple: Congress Should Intervene Regarding FBI Order
Bruce Sewell is the senior vice president of Legal and Government Affairs at Apple, and the iPhone maker is sending him to the nation’s capital to speak on behalf of the company at a hearing scheduled on Tuesday, March 1st before the Senate Judiciary Committee on striking a balance between matters of national security and the privacy of individual mobile users. Entitled “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy,” the hearing will include testimony from FBI Director James Comey and District Attorny for New York County Cyrus Vance Jr.
Apple also took the opportunity to officially file a motion requesting the courts to vacate a judge’s order made last February 16th that requires the company to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gain access to a terrorist’s iPhone device. In its motion, Apple reasons that the court order violates the constitutional rights of the company.
In the 60 page document, Apple emphasizes that the real issue does not only revolve around one specific iPhone device. According to the iPhone maker, this is about the Department of Justice and the FBI using the courts to wield a power that the Congress and Americans have long withheld -- that is, the ability to force business establishments to belittle the security and privacy interests of hundreds of millions of mobile users around the world.
For those not familiar with the issue, the FBI wants Apple to create a specific version of its iOS mobile operating system that will allow investigators to access information stored in an iPhone device used by a terrorist in the massacre that left 14 people dead and 20 injured in the city of San Bernardino in California a couple of months ago.
Regarding the motion that Apple has filed, a judge will be required in order to ascertain if the request is indeed reasonable. So far, no court yet has given the United States government the power to force parties to weaken the security measures put in place on their computers, as emphasized by an Apple executive. Moreover, for years the government has shown hesitation in forcing Americans to decrypt their mobile devices. As argued by Apple, this matter should be decided by lawmakers.
The fight between Apple and the FBI has dominated some headlines recently. Members of the tech industry have expressed support for Apple, including Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google. As for mobile users out there, they curiously await how this most recent chapter will unfold.