Apple plans to put forth an argument before Congress tomorrow afternoon that if it were to comply with court order to crack open a smartphone for FBI used in the San Bernardino shooting, it would set an extremely “dangerous precedent” for the future.
Apple has publicly spoken about its strong belief that being forced to purposely weaken the security on its own devices through the creation of a “GovtOS” would have far wider reaching repercussions than the FBI would have the general public believe. That argument has been outlined by Apple’s General Counsel as part of a prepared statement and testimony that will be presented in front of Congress.
Bruce Sewell, Apple’s General Counsel, has plans to outline that the Cupertino-based company in no way supports terrorists, and that the company has absolutely no sympathy for them. Sewell also plans to expand on that by arguing that this case isn’t as simple as merely assisting law enforcement for the greater good in order to potentially expose more information relating to these attacks. Apple will use the appearance to argue that once the security on an iPhone or iPad is weakened through the creation of a custom-built version of iOS, there will lie a very real possibility that criminals and cyber hackers could jeopardise the integrity of millions of devices around the world that simply aren’t under federal scrutiny:
They are asking for a backdoor into the iPhone. Building that software tool would not affect just one iPhone. It would weaken the security for all of them…. We can all agree this is not about access to just one iPhone.
Apple’s General Counsel will also make reference to the fact that FBI Director James Comey has effectively confirmed Apple’s fears by acknowledging that the bureau would indeed potentially use the precedent in an attempt to unlock devices involved in other cases to try and extract additional data from them. Of course, the Justice Department will argue to the contrary, stipulating that the request is definitely necessary and should be complied with as it holds the key to potentially finding out additional information behind the attack in California, as well as potentially exposing more information about any other individuals involved.
The case before Congress is likely to be an interesting spectacle. Bruce Sewell will be joined in front of Congress by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a DA who has previously been outspoken about Apple’s policies pertaining to encryption.
Apple’s statement prepared by Bruce Sewell has already been submitted to the panel ahead of the appearance tomorrow, and can now be read below:
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