Encryption hearing focuses on retaining access to users' devices

Initially previewed in an editorial posted on Lawfare earlier this week, FBI Director James Comey argued against default device encryption during a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Comey, along with Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and District Attorney Cyrus Vance pointed out that end-to-end encrypted messaging apps, for example, hinder terrorism investigations. 

Comey and Yates noted that often times, terrorists initially recruit followers through a public Twitter and then transition the relationship over to encrypted messaging apps. At that point, they argued, the suspect and the terrorist organization have “gone dark.”

Law enforcement is not asking for a backdoor into devices, the panelist stated, rather, they want the company to retain access to communications.

Meanwhile, tech experts warn that limiting encryption would greatly impact the world's internet security and privacy.

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