Lieu, Hurd urge colleagues to use encryption, improve cyber hygiene

Two lawmakers with computer science degrees took their colleagues to task, encouraging them in a letter to use encryption and practice smarter cyber hygiene.
Two lawmakers with computer science degrees took their colleagues to task, encouraging them in a letter to use encryption and practice smarter cyber hygiene.

Just a few days after Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) chastised House leadership for refusing to bring a "backdoor" National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment to the floor for a vote, the California representative took aim at Congress's personal cyber hygiene in a letter penned with Sen. Will Hurd (R-Texas).

Lieu and Hurd, two of a handful of legislators that hold computer science degrees, urged their colleagues to employ “easy-to-use applications that have end-to-end encryption for mobile communications. While this method is not foolproof, the use of these apps constructs a huge barrier to your communications being deciphered.” 

The duo warned, according to a report in The Hill, that “there are numerous vulnerabilities throughout all communications platforms. Encrypting your voice and text data will go a long way towards mitigating the various risks we have identified.”

Yorgen Edholm, CEO of Accellion, said the letter “demonstrates that lawmakers are just as conflicted as the public when it comes to the divisive privacy vs. national security debate.”

In comments emailed to SCMagazine.com, Edholm said that “it's refreshing to see members of Congress acknowledging the serious threat posed by cybercriminals, syndicates and foreign governments.”

But the CEO mused about how the considerations raised by Hurd and Lieu would translate into policy. Until policymaking is affected, “we need more politicians like Reps. Lieu and Hurd who are willing to extoll the importance of encryption, as well as the potentially dangerous repercussions that come from allowing backdoor access to technology,” Edholm said.

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