In Apple-FBI Fight, Congress Considers Aggressive And Measured Approaches – NPR

Director of the National Intelligence James Clapper, seated at the table meets with the Senate Intelligence Committee Feb. 9, including Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C. Burr and the committee's minority leader, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are working on a bill that would force companies like Apple to help prosecutors unlock the phones of criminal suspects.

Director of the National Intelligence James Clapper, seated at the table meets along with the Senate Intelligence Committee Feb. 9, including Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C. Burr and the committee’s minority leader, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are functioning on a bill that would certainly force companies love Apple to insight prosecutors unlock the phones of criminal suspects.

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Alex Brandon/AP

While Apple and the FBI fight in court over the government’s requirement that the tech firm to insight it break in to the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, Congress is attempting to locate its own solution to the digital security/national security debate.

Lawmakers ideal chance for consensus could be that Washington staple, a commission — like the one outlined Wednesday by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas. It would certainly be modeled on the panel Congress formed to investigate security break downs prior to Sept. 11.

McCaul says that he knows some will certainly be skeptical of the idea, as he themselves initially was, yet that he considers it the very best response readily available right now.

“There is no easy, knee-jerk, legislative response at this time,” he says, yet adds that leaving the issue alone isn’t an excellent choice either. “If Congress does nothing, as some would certainly advocate … and we get hold of strike in the United States along with a Paris-design attack? I don’t want that on my hands.”

If Congress approves the commission — which Apple says it supports — McCaul and Warner hope to consist of members from law enforcement, the tech industry, privacy advocates and the Obama administration. The panel would certainly issue an interim report in 6 months and a last set of insight in a year.

Warner says it’s something Congress currently need to have actually done.

“In lots of methods the most recent litigation that’s taking put could not have actually been called for if we’d had this sort of approach a couple of years back,” says Warner, including that he fears that the sides are “talking past each other.”

Warner says the commission’s job will certainly go beyond the Apple-FBI battle that’s now making news — that, he says, will certainly be settled in court — to as an alternative concentrate on broader digital versus national security troubles that should be settled by Congress. There is no consensus on just what action, if any, that Congress need to take — though there currently are clear sides being taken by legislators.

On one edge are national security hawks, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that is crucial of Apple for fighting the court order.

“I didn’t believe a firm would certainly set itself above the law,” she says, “particularly a California-based firm love Apple — which is a terrific company. And I still chance they will certainly reconsider.”

Feinstein, the senior democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is functioning on a bill along with the panel’s chairman, Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina. It would certainly force companies love Apple to insight prosecutors unlock the phones of criminal suspects.

She says she is great along with a commission exploring solutions to the matter, which she says does not “contravene passing a bill … which just says everyone need to cooperate if there is a probable induce court warrant.”

But intelligence committee member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., says such a bill would certainly not be the right approach for lawmakers to take.

“I’m very, quite opposed to any type of legislation that would certainly force companies to weaken the security of their products,” he says, “and that would certainly consist of legislation that would certainly criminalize tough encryption or force companies to stockpile encryption keys.”

Wyden says also if Congress were to weaken encryption protections in the United States, there are plenty of foreign encryption apps readily available that would certainly permit inadequate guys to get hold of about that law. Wyden has actually asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to review Don’t Panic, a report developed by Harvard University’s Berkman Focus for Internet & Society, which argues that a lot data usable by law enforcement is currently unencrypted and most likely to continue to be so.

Wyden says he as well could support a commission, as long as it’s not “stacked” in favor of law enforcement.

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