Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 1:00 p.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy.” The House Judiciary Committee previously held member briefings on encryption, which included a briefing from technology companies and a classified briefing from the government.
As encryption has increasingly become much more widespread among consumers, there is an ongoing national debate about the positive and negative implications it poses for consumers’ security and privacy. Encryption is used to strengthen consumers’ privacy but it also has presented new challenges for law enforcement seeking to obtain information during the course of its criminal investigations. For example, following the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, investigators recovered a cell phone belonging to one of the terrorists responsible for the attack. After the FBI was unable to unlock the phone and recover its contents, a federal judge recently ordered Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance to assist law enforcement agents in obtaining access to the data” on the device.
Witnesses for the hearing are:
- The Honorable James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Mr. Bruce Sewell, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Apple, Inc.
- Ms. Susan Landau, Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Mr. Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., District Attorney, New York County
Below is a statement from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) on this hearing.
“The widespread use of strong encryption has implications both for Americans’ privacy and security. As technology companies have made great strides to enhance the security of Americans’ personal and private information, law enforcement agencies face new challenges when attempting to access encrypted information. Americans have a right to strong privacy protections and Congress should fully examine the issue to be sure those are in place while finding ways to help law enforcement fight crime and keep us safe.
“Next week, the House Judiciary Committee will continue its examination of encryption and the questions it raises for Americans and lawmakers. As we move forward, our goal is to find a solution that allows law enforcement to effectively enforce the law without harming the competitiveness of U.S. encryption providers or the privacy protections of U.S. citizens.”
This hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live athttps://judiciary.house.gov/. Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally-credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.