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RSA 2016: McCaul calls backdoors ineffective, pushes for tech panel to solve security issues


Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) used the stage at RSA 2016 to stump for a bill he introduced with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) that would create a panel of technology and legal experts that would work together to solve security issues.

McCaul called the idea of having vendors install backdoors that would allow law enforcement to enter devices used in a crime as an ineffective tactic saying any criminal, terrorist or nation-state actor would simply move away from using such a device in order protect itself.

McCaul also used the on-going battle between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a pivot point to push for the adoption of his bill to create the National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges. McCaul said the argument taking place is driving a wedge between law enforcement and the public sector which is not good for the nation.

“I alm not out to demonize encryption. It protects our national interests, but it can also allow our enemies to do the same thing,” he said.

The congressman ran through a laundry list of incidents ranging from OPM to ISIS using social media as a recruiting tool as reasons for why a national cyber policy is needed.

“To this day we have no clear cyber policy,” he said, adding that more attacks like the one that took down part of the Ukrainian power grid are coming and the country is preparing itself for this eventuality.

“We are in a pre-9/11 mindset when it comes to cyber defense,” McCaul said, reminding the crowd that before that terror attack the various government intelligence agencies were not talking to or sharing information with each other.

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