Apple Releases Statement On iPhone Encryption Ahead of Today’s Congressional Hearing

Later this afternoon Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell will stand before the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee and present his argument for Apple's unwillingness to help the FBI break into the now infamous iPhone 5c model that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. What he's going to say isn't a mystery.

This will be Apple's first appearance before Congress since it was ordered to provide technical assistance to the FBI in thwarting its own security measures. Sewell will likely face a lot of scrutiny for Apple's decision, as he'll be joined by a number of ranking officials who have sided with the FBI in this ongoing dispute. One of them is the FBI director himself, James Comey.

Apple Store

We know some of what Sewell will say to the panel in part because Apple, and especially Tim Cook, have been outspoken on the issue. Cook at one point even compared to the creation of a backdoor into the iPhone to cancer, the very disease that prematurely claimed the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

The other reason we know what Sewell is going to say is because he already submitted an open statement to the panel earlier today.

"I want to repeat something we have said since the beginning — that the victims and families of the San Bernardino attacks have our deepest sympathies and we strongly agree that justice should be served. Apple has no sympathy for terrorists," Sewell begins after giving his obligatory thanks for the opportunity to appear before the Committee.

Sewell goes on to repeat what Apple and Cook and have already said, that the FBI wants Apple to create something that doesn't exist, specifically a backdoor into the iPhone. He gets right to the point about this not being a matter of a single iPhone.

"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. In fact, just last week Director Comey agreed that the FBI would likely use this precedent in other cases involving other phones," Sewell says. "District Attorney Vance has also said he would absolutely plan to use this on over 175 phones. We can all agree this is not about access to just one iPhone."

Apple's position was bolstered on Monday when a New York judge rejected the use of the more than two centuries old All Writs Act in an effort by the FBI to force Apple to bypass the passcode on another iPhone, one that was involved in a drug case. That doesn't have any bearing on this case, but it does mean the FBI might have trouble using the All Writs Act as a trump card in future cases.