Apple and the FBI will face off Tuesday for the first time since the federal government went to court to try to force the tech giant to unlock a terrorist’s encrypted iPhone.
FBI Director James Comey and Apple’s senior vice president and general counsel, Bruce Sewell, will testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy.”
The difficulty of finding that balance has been underscored by the legal battle between the FBI and Apple over whether the government can force the company to create software to unlock the iPhone of a dead terrorist who shot 14 people to death and wounded more than 20 others in San Bernardino, Calif. in December.
Comey said the FBI’s request would only affect the iPhone of terrorist Syed Farook, who was killed along with his wife in a shootout with police.
“The code the judge has directed Apple to write works only on this one phone,” Comey testified at a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week.
But Apple warned that writing new code to unlock Farook’s phone will create a backdoor into the encrypted iPhones of millions of consumers, making the devices vulnerable to hackers, cyber criminals and government surveillance.