Apple and the FBI will make their cases to the House Judiciary Committee today in the matter of the tech giant’s refusal to help the federal law enforcement agency unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook.
Senior attorney Bruce Sewell will speak for the Apple side, while FBI Director James Comey will speak for law enforcement.
The hearing, titled “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy,” will mark the first time Apple and federal law enforcement will speak in the same forum on the matter.
Comey will speak first, then Sewell, Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor Susan Landau, and New York County DA Cyrus Vance Jr. will speak on a second panel.
Vance made news this week by saying that he has 175 iPhones he would like to unlock for investigations, if only he had a master key. He also quoted a monitored phone call on which a known criminal said Apple’s strong encryption on iPhones is “a gift from God.”
A California federal district court issued an order on February 16 instructing Apple to build a custom firmware upgrade that could be loaded onto Farook’s iPhone 5c, enabling the FBI to access data on the device. The data, the FBI says, could establish a link between the San Bernardino terrorists and ISIS leadership in the Middle East.