Incident Response, TDR

After Brussels, McCaul renews calls to act on encryption


As authorities scramble to piece together details of the deadly terror attacks in Brussels that claimed the lives of at least 31, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) renewed calls for lawmakers to take action on encryption.

“I think after the events of today, it's important that Congress does something and that Congress acts,” he said Tuesday.

Last month, McCaul and Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) announced a bill to establish a commission to explore technologies that could provide access to law enforcement authorities while protecting information security and privacy rights.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks at the Brussels airport and a metro station.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said on Tuesday that it is not known yet whether the suicide bombers used encryption to plan the attacks. “We don't know yet,” Nunes said, according to The Hill. “But I'm sure that that's the case, because that's what they're all doing.”

Law enforcement officials and policymakers made similar statements immediately following the Paris attacks last year. Speaking three days after the November attacks, CIA Director John Brennan said the U.S. and Europe should look at whether there have been “inadvertent or intentional gaps” that affected intelligence agencies' abilities.

The “going dark” argument, however, turned out to be unfounded. Investigations into the Paris attackers' communication methods uncovered the use of disposable cell phones, but investigators said they did not any find evidence that the attackers used encryption.

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