The FBI needs to work with hackers in order to keep pace with the fast-changing tech industry, the Bureau told lawmakers Tuesday.
Amy Hess, the FBI's executive assistant director for science and technology, spoke at a congressional hearing about encryption and whether or not it needs to be regulated.
"We require services of specialized skills we can only get through third parties," Hess said, reports The New York Times
According to a Washington Post report
last week, the FBI sought assistance from professional hackers to help the Bureau gain access to an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists. Apple refused to help out of privacy concerns, and the FBI took legal action before it suddenly canceled a court hearing when it found a way in.
The Post said hackers, not an Israeli company as first reported
, swooped in and helped investigators.
At least one of those hackers was reportedly of the "gray hat" variety, meaning he or she makes money by potentially helping governments spy on private citizens.
Bruce Sewell, who works as Apple's general counsel, was also at Tuesday's hearing in Washington.
"As you heard from our colleagues in law enforcement, they have the perception that encryption walls off information to them," Sewell said, reports the Times. "But technologists and national security experts don't see the world that way. We see a data-rich world that seems to be full of information. Information that law enforcement can use to solve — and prevent — crimes."
The government's legal fight with Apple and other tech companies over encryption is far from over. There is another ongoing case in Brooklyn
, for example, between the FBI and Apple over a phone belonging to a drug dealer. Authorities want to extract the data but the phone is locked with a password.
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