Apple, the FBI and others testified before a congressional panel about the controversy surrounding Apple's refusal to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernadino shooters. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The controversy over whether Apple should unlock a phone belonging to one of the San Bernadino shooters at the FBI's request- went to Capital Hill on Tuesday. FBI Director James Comey telling a congressional panel... (SOUNDBITE) JAMES COMEY, DIRECTOR, FBI, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Apple is very good at what it does. It's a wonderful company. It makes wonderful products. They have set out to design a phone that can't be opened. And they are darn near succeeding." Comey admitted that the court order to open the phone would be "potentially precedential" in other cases. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance appeared in support of the FBI: (SOUNDBITE) CYRUS VANCE, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Criminals know that the iOS8 operating system is warrant proof. Criminals understand that this new operating system provides them with a cloak, and they are quite literally laughing at us, and they are astounded that they have a means of communication totally secure from government reach". But Apple's general counsel, Bruce Sewell, argued that creating a tool to unlock the phone would weaken the security of hundreds of millions of Apple devices- and rejected accusations Apple is merely protecting its brand. (SOUNDBITE) BRUCE SEWELL, GENERAL COUNSEL, APPLE, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Everytime I hear this my blood boils. This is not a marketing issue. That is a way of demeaning the other side of the argument. We don't put up billboards that talk about our security. We don't take out ads that market our encryption. We are doing this because we think that protecting the security and the privacy of hundreds of millions of iPhone users is the right thing to do." Jadzia Butler of the Center for Democracy & Technology says much of this could have been avoided. (SOUNDBITE) JADZIA BUTLER, PRIVACY, SURVEILLANCE & SECURITY FELLOW, CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY & TECHNOLOGY, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Apple has been cooperating with the FBI, repeatedly. The only reason they have had to go this route is because the FBI and the county messed up. Without going through Apple they remotely changed the iCloud password of this device. If they hadn't done that they would have been able to take this device to a location where it could have been connected to WiFi. They could have backed up the iPhone and Apple could have then accessed that data." Apple has said it is willing to take this case to the Supreme Court.