A memo released last week by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee could put Congress on a legal collision course with Apple if Democrats take back the House of Representatives, The Intercept reports. On page 20 of the document protesting the Republican decision to end the HIC’s Russian collusion inquiry, the Democrats proposed the committee go after Apple’s “records reflecting downloaded encrypted messaging apps for certain key individuals” of interest in the investigation. Encrypted communications app WhatsApp is another target of the proposed inquiry, but the Democrats won’t have subpoena power over any of the companies in question if they can’t manage to flip the House in November.
If the details of Apple’s last serious standoff with the government over privacy are any indication, the company could balk at being asked to help gain access to devices, but certain user records are another story. A company spokesperson declined to specifically comment on the memo, but reiterated Apple’s stated guidelines to supply download and purchase records under court order. Not all of Apple’s interactions with the government are so tense, however, as evidenced by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s Twitter post on Friday. Mnuchin visited Apple headquarters and stopped for a photo-op to celebrate Apple’s commitment to invest $350 billion in the US over the next five years.