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Apple and FBI iPhone feud moves to the US Congress next week

UPDATE: As expected, on Thursday, Apple filed a motion requesting the FBI’s court order to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino killer be dismissed.

In the motion, Apple claimed it would need to create a GovtOS (Government OS) to fulfill the FBI’s request. The company cited the First Amendment right to free speech, claiming the FBI’s request is unconstitutional.

“No court has ever granted the government power to force companies like Apple to weaken its security systems to facilitate the government’s access to private individuals’ information. The All Writs Act does not support such sweeping use of judicial power, and the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution forbid it,” Apple’s filing reads.

Original story continues below…

As the war of words between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to heat up, both sides will now present their side of the the controversial iPhone encryption case to a US government committee.

Representatives from Apple and the FBI will appear at a House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee hearing on March 1 to discuss ‘the encryption tightrope.’

Apple’s side will be presented by its top lawyer Bruce Swell, while FBI director James Comey will also testify to different panel (via The Verge).

A description of the hearing, entitled ‘Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy reads: “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.”

Related: Apple vs the FBI: Your questions answered

Just yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed the FBI wanted the Cupertino firm to create the ‘software equivalent of cancer,’ by enabling law enforcement access to customer data via a backdoor in iOS.

On Thursday Director Comey called the issue the ‘hardest question’ he had seen in government, while addressing the House Intelligence Committee.

He said (via BBC News): ”I love encryption, I love privacy, and when I hear corporations saying we’re going to take you to a world where no one can look at your stuff, part of me thinks that’s great.

“We are going to move to a world where that is not possible anymore,” he said. “The world will not end but it will be a different world than where we are today and where we were in 2014.”

Also on Thursday, Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith told the same committee Redmond “wholeheartedly” backs Apple’s case, adding to support already offered by Bill Gates.

Apple is also planning to file a legal appeal against the FBI’s request to access the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone.


Where do you stand on the privacy vs security debate? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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