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Bipartisan Committee Leaders Invite FBI Director and Apple CEO to Testify About Encryption

Feb 19, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today invited Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey and Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to appear before the committee to discuss the issues surrounding encryption – specifically when privacy and national security issues are raised.

In letters to Comey and Cook, full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) asked for both the FBI and Apple to explain to Congress and the American people the issues at play and how they plan to move forward.

The leaders wrote:

We invite you to testify before the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, about the issues presented by the ongoing debate related to encryption technologies. 

Over the last year, with the growing availability and adoption of strong encryption measures by commercial technology providers, there has been an increasingly public and heated debate about the costs and benefits of encryption technologies, in particular, the impact these technologies have on law enforcement’s capabilities to investigate criminal conduct. …

This debate has now come to a critical juncture with the recent order by a federal magistrate to your company to assist the FBI in “unlocking” a security feature of a phone allegedly used by one of the perpetrators of terrorist acts in San Bernardino, California in December 2015.  According to news reports, there are a number of other law enforcement officials around the country considering use of authorities to compel similar assistance by technology manufacturers. …

We anticipate this hearing will occur at the Committee’s earliest opportunity and we are grateful for your cooperation.

Read the signed letters HERE.