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Apple lawyer says meeting FBI demand would help hackers 'wreak havoc'

The FBI's demands would "set a dangerous precedent for government intrusion."
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on
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(Image: file photo)

Apple's general counsel will tell members of a congressional committee on Tuesday that the FBI's demand to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters will set a "dangerous precedent."

Bruce Sewell, the company's chief lawyer, will testify to members of the House Judiciary Committee that while the company has "no sympathy for terrorists," the government's demands would "weaken the security" for every iPhone.

The general counsel will argue in his opening remarks that the government is "asking for a backdoor into the iPhone -- specifically to build a software tool that can break the encryption system which protects personal information on every iPhone."

"Building that software tool would not affect just one iPhone," the remarks added.

Earlier this month, US judge Sheri Pym ordered Apple to provide "reasonable technical assistance" by building and providing software that would allow federal agents to beat a security feature preventing the phone from erasing after a number of failed unlocking attempts.

Federal agents have been trying to gain access to the iPhone, used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California in December 2015.

Apple last week filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the case could be used by other courts to make similar demands.

"Once the floodgates open, they cannot be closed, and the device security that Apple has worked so tirelessly to achieve will be unwound without so much as a congressional vote," the motion read.

FBI director James Comey conceded in testimony to the House Intelligence Committee last week that the case could "guide how other courts handle these requests."

Sewell's full opening statement can be read below.

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