iPhone hacking case is one step closer to being heard by Congress

iPhone hacking case is one step closer to being heard by Congress

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iPhone mobile encryption touch id
The iPhone hacking case is becoming one of 2016's biggest stories.
Photo: Olly Browning/Pixabay

Apple has argued that its encryption beef with the U.S. government should be heard by Congress, rather than the courts, and it appears that certain members of the House Judiciary Committee agree.

According to a new report, select Republican and Democratic party members of the House Judiciary Committee are considering filing a “friend of the court” brief to support elevating the case up to Congress level — although no final decision has yet been made.

Any filing of such a brief is likely to happen after today’s panel hearing, featuring both FBI Director James Comey and Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell. Sewell is set to argue that forcing Apple to help the FBI hack its iPhone will have a negative impact on millions of citizens who use regularly Apple products and trust the company to keep their information safe.

Interestingly, the current encryption debate does not divide clearly along party lines. There are liberal Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans who support Apple’s pro-privacy stance on encryption, while other politicians on both sides have come down firmly in favor of the U.S. government. All five GOP presidential candidates are backing the FBI.

With Apple having spent close to $5 million lobbying Congress in the last year alone — mainly on tax and copyright issues — it has more influence at Congress level than it does at court level. On the minus side, having issues addressed by Congress is no guarantee of a swift resolution.

In other words, this case — and particularly the issues it raises — isn’t going away any time soon.

Source: Reuters