Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told an audience at Stanford University in California on Wednesday the US government needs to a form a bipartisan commission to look at airport security and encryption.
Clinton urges examination of airport security, encryption commission https://t.co/XcDMuy3mr8
— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) March 23, 2016
She said the Brussels attack that killed more than 30 people is the “latest brutal reminder” that more must be done to defeat Islamic State militants.
So far it has not been determined if the suspected terrorists in Brussels used encrypted devices to plan or communicate during the attacks.
“We do not know yet what role, if any, encrypted communications played in these attacks,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “But we can be sure that terrorists will continue to use what they perceive to be the most secure means to plot their attacks,”
In December during a debate with rival Bernie Sanders Clinton characterized encryption as a “terrorist tool used in the Paris attacks.” She said the US should launch a “Manhattan-like project” to “bring the government and tech communities together” so that law enforcement can “prevent attacks.”
In February House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia introduced a bill calling for a committee to examine encryption. Warner said the committee will be based on the 9/11 commission.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said a congressional committee on encryption should make recommendations within 90 days.
“It could set the table for congressional action but also for the next administration,” said Warner. ” We want to maintain American innovation, but we also need to maintain American security. Encryption is part of the fabric of American security. We also need to have ways we can go after criminals and terrorists.”
McCaul said apps like Telegram and Wire that provide end-to-end encryption pose a challenge to law enforcement. He said encrypted private communications is “probably the biggest challenge to law enforcement I have seen in my lifetime.”
“If Congress does nothing on this issue, and we do get hit with a Paris-style attack, I don’t want that on my hands,” he added.
A court battle between the FBI and Apple over unlocking a pair of phones said to have been used by the alleged San Bernardino attackers has set the tenor of the debate.
“We feel the best way forward would be for the government to withdraw its demands under the All Writs Act and, as some in Congress have proposed, form a commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology, and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy, and personal freedoms. Apple would gladly participate in such an effort,“ said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement on the company’s website.