According to Alan Davidson, former Google executive turned Commerce Department official, strong encryption and law enforcement interests are not “irreconcilable.”

But he won’t speculate as to how that’s possible.

At a conference devoted to the history and complexity of encryption on Wednesday, Davidson was asked by Politico reporter David Perrera to choose between the strongest encryption, end-to-end encryption, or weaker encryption that law enforcement can access when it needs to.

Davidson, despite his role as an Internet and industry advocate, refused to give a straight answer.

“We believe that encryption is an essential tool,” Davidson told guests on Wednesday morning at the Cryptosummit hosted by privacy group Access. “But we don’t think that’s incompatible with public safety.”

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