House Leaders Create Encryption Working Group

Leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and House Judiciary Committee have created an Encryption Working Group to look at the legal and policy ramifications of encryption.

The working group was created by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.), who will serve as ex officio members.

It has set itself a high bar: "Members will work toward finding solutions that allow law enforcement agencies to fulfill their responsibility without harming the competitiveness of the U.S. technology sector or the privacy and security protections that encryption provides for U.S. citizens," the quartet of leaders said in a joint statement.

Members of the group will be: Reps. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y), Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.).

The Obama Administration has been pushing for creating ways for law enforcement to access encrypted information, an effort resisted by privacy groups.

The most recent flashpoint ws the FBI's request, then court order, to Apple to help it access information from the phone of an alleged terrorist, though the government Tuesday (March 21), signaling it might have a way into the phone without Apple, supported and got a stay of the court decision it had sought compelling Apple to help.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.