Apple/FBI Encryption Case Continues
The question of whether the FBI can compel Apple to assist the FBI in accessing the phone of the San Bernardino shooter continues to garner debate in Washington. As Bloomberg notes, “The only question is whether it will be Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court that breaks the impasse.”
For its part, Congress is stepping up to explore the topic, with a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduledfor March 1, featuring FBI Director James Comey, General Counsel for Apple, and Manhattan District Attorney. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has also invited Apple’s CEO and the FBI Director to testify.
The House Judiciary committee will vote next month on email privacy bill (H.R. 699) from Rep. Kevin Yoder [R, KS-3], which would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which allows government agents to read emails without a warrant if the emails are at least six months old. With 310 cosponsors, the bill is the most popular piece of legislation that has yet to receive a vote in the House.
In the Senate, Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein are reportedly working on a bill that would make it a crime for a company to refuse government orders for access to encrypted data.
FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that the case would be instructive for other courts seeking to address similar issues in a variety of cases. Reports emerged this week that Apple is working on even stronger encryption technology.