The saga of Apple vs. the FBI continued Tuesday with FBI Director James Comey testifying before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. If you haven't been following the case, the FBI has gotten a judicial order for Apple to unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
So far Apple has refused to comply with the order on the grounds that doing so would potentially give the FBI and the U.S. government a backdoor into any citizen's iPhone. Many tech companies and security experts are siding with Apple while polls show that many Americans and terrorist victims are siding with the FBI. So, which side is Congress coming in on?
For the most part, the House Judiciary Committee seemed skeptical of the FBI's motives and legal basis. In a very pointed question, Jerrold Nadler (D - NY) asked about the iCloud password associated with the iPhone.
Normally, the FBI, with Apple's assistance, could have pulled information by tapping into the iPhone's communications as it backed up to iCloud. However, the FBI had to admit that it made a "mistake" and had San Bernardino county change the iCloud account password, which blocked the iPhone from further backups.
Director Comey did go on to maintain that the FBI would still have needed to get into the phone directly because not every piece of potentially useful information would have been in the backup.
Other questioning revolved around the precedent and burden comply with these kinds of FBI requests would have on smaller businesses in the future; whether this question is better answered by legislation from Congress rather than the court; the legality of the government forcing private companies to comply with these kinds of requests; other surveillance tools in the government's arsenal; and more.
You can watch the full hearing in the video below. If you want to see the exchange between Jerrold Nadler and James Comey about the iCloud password mistake, it begins at the 1 hour 13 minute mark.