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Congressional Committee To Revive Apple-FBI Debate on Tuesday

April 16
11:26 PM 2016

A Congressional subcommittee has announced on Thursday that Apple Inc. and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) will return to congress nest week. Both the summoned will testify before lawmakers on their heated disagreement over law enforcement access to encrypted devices.

Bruce Swell, general counsel for Apple and Amy Hess, executive assistant director for science and technology at the FBI will testify before separate panels. They will represent respective parties to satisfy a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday. In addition to the concerned lawmakers, other law enforcement officials and technology experts will also observe their arguments, reports The Guardian.

James Comey, the FBI Director has appeared before another congressional committee last month to explain his agency's pursuit in compelling Apple to unlock an iPhone. The iPhone has allegedly been used by one of the shooters taking part in the mass killing of San Bernardino. Sewell has also testified on that hearing session, according to a report published in Reuters.

A still secret third party has assisted the government investigators to hack into the iPhone. Following the surprising development, FBI has abandoned pursuing Apple for San Bernardino case. Meanwhile, the US Justice Department has revived its earlier efforts last week seeking court intervention to compel Apple in unlocking the iPhone encryption. The department has announced planning to continue the battle with appealing to court in an unrelated New York drug case, reports Fortune.

Thomas Galati, chief of the New York police department's intelligence bureau; Charles Cohen, commander of the Indiana Internet crimes against children task force and Matthew Blaze, a professor and computer security expert at the University of Pennsylvania, are among the other witnesses to appear during the congressional hearing.

Fred Upton, chairman of the congressional committee for energy and commerce, observes the encryption debate as an important as well as imperative public issue to get involved. He however, feels the necessity for a delicate balance between secured encryption and solutions for the law enforcers in protecting American people.

Meanwhile, two US Senators have published a draft legislation empowering courts in forcing tech companies to handover decrypted data in an intelligent format. The court authority will be effective even if encryption has transformed the data as inaccessible to anyone other than the owner.

On the contrary, security researchers and liberty advocates argue that such law will impose a banning on strong encryption. However, encryption based security is essential to keep malicious hackers away in a bid to ensure overall internet security.

Apple-FBI debate has witnessed a pause after a secret third party helped the investigators in unlocking an iPhone. But last week, US Department of Justice has revived its efforts in compelling Apple to unlock encrypted iPhone linking to an unrelated drug case. Meanwhile, a congressional subcommittee has summoned Apple and FBI to testify before the lawmakers on Tuesday.

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