The battle between law enforcement officials and encryption data continues in the United States. This time however, in Washington D.C. Cyrus R. Vance Jr., district attorney of Manhattan continues to argue his case in favor of encryption leniency during criminal investigations.
The matter was brought into spotlight months ago, after FBI officials attempted to break iPhone encryption files through the court systems. The federal law enforcement agency hoped to collect further intelligence from iPhones recovered from the San Bernardino shooters. An alternative way of breaking the encryption files was found however, leaving the case in a sort of legal limbo.
The New York Times reports that the battle continues to gain steam on Capitol Hill, as lobbyists from both sides of the debate try to sway lawmakers. According to the article, tech executives from Apple, Google, Facebook, and other tech companies have also met with lawmakers in the nation’s capital. Their meetings expressed concern on possible laws weakening security measures on their technology.
A tug of war of sorts has already formed in D.C., when Senate officials drafted an encryption bill mandating tech companies to comply with law enforcement’s demands so long as a court order is present. Advocates on both sides rallied in favor and against the bill, dragging with them policy makers from across the country. “This is an escalating fight… It’s become the focus now in Washington, with hearings and legislative activity,” said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
Officials from Google and Apple are adamant about seeing the bill die out early. Tech companies hope to derail the proposals in attempts to protect privacy rights, as well their own businesses. Granting law enforcement officials access to encrypted files, or providing them with backdoor abilities to bypass these security features can set dangerous precedents. Access to encrypted files may also facilitate criminal activity and cause other unintended consequences, endangering public safety. In attempts to curb this scenario, tech companies are lobbying early.
Law enforcement officials see the tech industry’s lobbying as obstructive, preventing officials from public safety efforts. Law enforcement efforts are hampered without access to digital data on phones and messaging services.
“Now it seems like the tech industry is taking every opportunity they have to put up obstacles in our way, including trying to derail legislative efforts that would give law enforcement what they need to keep people safe,” commented president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Terrence Cunningham.
Whatever the outcome may be, rest assured that the battle taking place is tense. We must wait and see what the outcomes are.
If you liked this post and would like to read more on tech law, check out my twitter @ for more information. Thanks for reading!