Apple, FBI to face off at March 1 congressional hearing

Apple and the FBI will air their grievances over a court's ruling that Apple has to assist the FBI in opening the San Bernardino shooting suspect's encrypted and locked iPhone.

Tim Cook testifying to Congress last year.

(Image: file photo via CBSNews.com)

Apple and the FBI will face off at a congressional hearing on Tuesday, March 1 at 1PM EST, following Apple CEO Tim Cook's request for Congress to get involved in the legal battle over the San Bernardino shooting suspect's locked iPhone.

Along with Apple's general counsel Bruce Sewell, FBI director James Comey, New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, and professor Susan Landau from Worcester Polytechnic Institute will be sitting on the hearing titled "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy".

The FBI said it's unable to unlock the iPhone in question because it's locked with a passcode. Earlier this month, a judge ruled Apple must provide "reasonable technical assistance" to help agents unlock the phone.

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Apple is expected to file an appeal Thursday or Friday, after federal agents have been trying to gain access to the iPhone since Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and injured dozens in the shooting attack on December 2.

Cook has been vocal in opposing the ruling, penning several letters to employees and customers, over the case.

"We feel the best way forward would be for the government to withdraw its demands under the All Writs Act and, as some in Congress have proposed, form a commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy and personal freedoms," Cook told employees in a letter on Monday.

Cook appeared on ABC's Nightline on Wednesday and called iPhone-cracking software the "software equivalent of cancer." Several high-profile technology companies have supported Apple's stance against the FBI, including Facebook, Alphabet, Twitter, and Microsoft.

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