FBI: Using Third-Parties to Crack Encryption Not Solution

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 8:32 PM

Amy Hess said that while the Justice Dept opted for "one potential solution" latest mo when it enlisted a still-unidentified third party to access the phone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, attackers, that path isn't the only answer.

Hiring exterior contractors to assistance the FBI crack into locked iPhones isn't the only solution, a top FBI official told Congress Tuesday, saying there'south number "one-size-fits-all" reply for law enforcement to recover encrypted communications.

Amy Hess said that while the Justice Dept opted for "one potential solution" latest mo when it enlisted a still-unidentified third party to access the phone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, attackers, that path isn't the only answer. Each decision should be made case by case, she said.

"We really necessity the cooperation of industry, we necessity the cooperation of academia, we necessity the cooperation of the private sector to arrive up with solutions," said Hess, who's executive helper director of the FBI'south science and technology branch, which oversees the development of surveillance technologies.

Hess, appearing alongside executive from local law enforcement agencies, testified before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Apple'south common counsel, Bruce Sewell, was expected to testify at an afternoon panel.

The hearing comes amid an ongoing dispute between law enforcement and Silicon Valley about how to balance consumer privacy against the necessity for police and federal agents to recover communications and eavesdrop on suspected terrorists and criminals. It also comes as the Senate considers a bill that'd effectively prohibit unbreakable encryption and require companies to assistance the government access data on a computer or mobile device with a warrant.

The long-simmering clash escalated in Feb after a judge in CA directed Apple to assistance the FBI crack into the phone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife killed fourteen people on Dec. two before dying in a shootout with police. The Justice Dept latest mo said a third party had approached it with a way into the phone, effectively ending that Ct case. Another valid fight over a phone in a separate drug case is still pending in Brooklyn.

Asked about the FBI'south reliance on a third party to obtain into the phone, and its inability to do so on its own, Hess said that to hold up with rapidly evolving technologies, "we do require services of specialized skills that we can only obtain through private industry."

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Chase Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www. twitter. com/etuckerAP

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