Press Releases

Congressional Leaders: Bipartisan Encryption Working Group Making Progress

Washington, DC, June 22, 2016

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today provided an update on the progress made by the bipartisan encryption working group:

“We continue to meet with a variety of federal, state and local government entities, former government officials, private industry and trade associations, civil society organizations, consultants and legal experts, academia, and cryptographers. These meetings have produced critical information that has helped inform the working group as we seek solutions to this issue.  They’ve helped identify common principles and we look forward to continuing our discussions to identify options for addressing this important public policy issue.”

Key Takeaways from Meetings to Date:

  • Encryption is a good thing that safeguards Americans’ privacy and helps protect Americans from criminals and hackers.
  • Members of the encryption working group see a range of technical obstacles to broad legislative mandates to require special access to law enforcement. 
  • There are opportunities for companies to enhance their training, education, and support for law enforcement, particularly at the state and local level.
  • Increased cooperation between law enforcement and the private sector can help break down the adversarial walls that have been built in recent years. Law enforcement officials have described the increasing use of encryption as a challenge to their respective missions.

About the Encryption Working Group: Earlier this year, Goodlatte, Conyers, Upton, and Pallone announced the creation of an encryption working group to examine the complicated legal and policy issues surrounding encryption. The group is working to identify potential solutions that preserve the benefits of strong encryption – including the protection of Americans’ privacy and information security – while also ensuring law enforcement has the tools needed to keep us safe and prevent crime. The encryption working group’s roadmap can be found here.

Members of the working group are Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Yvette Clarke (D-NY) , and Joe Kennedy III (D-MA). Chairmen Goodlatte and Upton and Ranking Members Conyers and Pallone serve as ex officio members of the working group.