Rep. Ted Lieu asks FBI director to withdraw demand that Apple help with unlocking an iPhone

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) has asked FBI Director James Comey to withdraw the bureau's demand that Apple help unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino, CA, shooters, according to FCW magazine.

"As a computer science major, I have seen far-reaching unintended consequences when government applies outmoded concepts to our fast-changing technological world," Lieu wrote in a Feb. 23 letter to Comey.

Rep. Ted Lieu (left) told FBI Director James Comey (right) that he should not "use a lawsuit to circumvent the critical and necessary policy discussions" about encryption.  

Rep. Ted Lieu (left) told FBI Director James Comey (right) that he should not "use a lawsuit to circumvent the critical and necessary policy discussions" about encryption.

 

Last week a federal judge ordered Apple to offer "reasonable technical assistance" to investigators trying to extract data from the iPhone 5C used by Syed Farook. Apple has vowed to fight the court order, and tech giants such as Facebook have sprung to Apple's defense.

Lieu warned that the case could "open the floodgates for all future prosecutors to make the exact same demands in any case involving a smartphone that government cannot decrypt.

Also, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has (kinda) backtracked on comments that he agrees with the FBI/Justice Department in the brouhaha. In an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft said he was misunderstood, though his stance seems pretty much unchanged.

He said that with “the right safeguards,” it’s “valuable” for the government to have access to user data in cases where it’s acting on Americans’ behalf, “like stopping terrorist that could get worse in the future.”