Skip to content

Feinstein Statement on Encryption

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke on the need for authorities to have the ability to bypass encryption when investigating major crimes.

            Video of the remarks is available here.

            “I want to take everybody back to December 2, 2015. The place is San Bernardino, California. What happened was a mass murder: 14 were killed and 22 more were injured. But a cell phone was found at the scene of the crime.

            As part of the investigation, the FBI was unable to unlock it, and despite a lawful court order, the phone’s manufacturer refused to assist the FBI in unlocking the phone.

            I was called and asked to help. I learned the details of this, and I learned the cost of what it took to eventually unlock that phone. Gentlemen, remember: 14 people were killed, and 22 more were injured.

            I am determined to see that there is a way that phones can be unlocked when major crimes are committed. It is a vital piece of evidence, whether that’s liked by you or not, at the scene of a crime.

            This time, in the state I represent, a lot of people were killed and a lot of people were injured, and what was there? A cell phone. I know what it costs to unlock it. I’ve been asked not to say it and I’ll respect that, but it should not have happened.

            I’ve learned, my colleagues, even when a United States senator calls and asks for help for law enforcement, that help is denied. So we need to take action.”