Granting the FBI access to the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone would set a precedent that could be used “on over 175 phones,” Apple plans to tell the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. Bruce Sewell, Apple general counsel, will testify in a hearing called “Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy,” and Re/code has released Sewell’s prepared speech ahead of the meeting.
Sewell will reference comments from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who said in an interview with NPR that his cyber lab cannot access 175 phones out of a total 670 phones being held. Vance said he wants Apple to unlock phones “when there is a court order by an independent judge” that proves it is necessary.
The FBI wants access to the iPhone 5C of Syed Farook, who along with Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, back in December, before both died in a shootout with police. The FBI asked Apple to develop software that could help authorities get past the phone’s passcode, but Apple worries that this will set a precedent and undermine general iPhone security.
“As we have told them — and as we have told the American public — building that software tool would not affect just one iPhone; it would weaken the security for all of them,” Sewell will say.
The speech ends by asking three questions: whether the FBI can make a company develop a product that did not exist before, whether the FBI can stop tech firms from making the most secure products possible, and whether Americans want to put a limit on how secure tech should be.
Apple plans to introduce a new iPhone on March 21, according to BuzzFeed. The following day, the company is scheduled to meet with the FBI in federal court in Riverside, California.
The timing of the event may seem unfortunate, but analysts told International Business Times that they don’t expect the controversy to impact sales of the 4-inch device expected later this month, nor is it likely to hurt sales of the anticipated iPhone 7 later in the year.