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Apple urges US to form encryption panel

Apple CEO Tim Cook. (file pic)

Apple CEO Tim Cook. (file pic)

Apple Inc has called for the creation of a government commission or panel of experts on encryption to help resolve the standoff over national security and data privacy.

‘Apple would gladly participate in such an effort,’ the company said on Monday in a post on its website entitled ‘Answers to your questions about Apple and security’.

The standoff began last week when the technology company refused a US government demand to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

A digital security commission comprising technology, business and law enforcement experts has been proposed by Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Representative Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, to help break the impasse over encryption.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook also sent a letter to employees Monday morning explaining the company’s position and thanking them for their support.

‘This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation, so when we received the government’s order we knew we had to speak out,’ Cook said in the email to employees, seen by Reuters.

‘At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties.’

The Federal Bureau of Investigation wants the company’s help to access Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone by disabling some of its passcode protections.

Farook and Tashfeen Malik attacked a holiday party in San Bernardino, California on December 2, killing 14 people and injuring 22.

Apple has argued while it’s technically possible to bypass the security features of the iPhone by building a new operating system, it would set a dangerous precedent.

FBI Director James Comey published an article on the national security legal blog Lawfare, arguing the case was not about setting a new legal precedent but “victims and justice.”


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