Apple and the FBI will testify in front of Congress next Tuesday

Apple’s battle with the FBI is heading to Capitol Hill.

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing covering encryption technology on March 1st, and notably, Apple’s top lawyer Bruce Sewell and his nemesis — FBI director James Comey — will both be testifying, although on different panels.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a vocal critic of Apple’s approach to device security, will also be testifying.

Here’s the press release:

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 1:00 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy.” The House Judiciary Committee previously held member briefings on encryption, which included a briefing from technology companies and a classified briefing from the government.

As encryption has increasingly become much more widespread among consumers, there is an ongoing national debate about the positive and negative implications it poses for consumers’ security and privacy. Encryption is used to strengthen consumers’ privacy but it also has presented new challenges for law enforcement seeking to obtain information during the course of its criminal investigations. For example, following the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, investigators recovered a cell phone belonging to one of the terrorists responsible for the attack. After the FBI was unable to unlock the phone and recover its contents, a federal judge recently ordered Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance to assist law enforcement agents in obtaining access to the data” on the device.

Witnesses for the hearing are:

Panel I

  • The Honorable James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Panel II

  • Mr. Bruce Sewell, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Apple, Inc.
  • Ms. Susan Landau, Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Mr. Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., District Attorney, New York County

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