July 30, 2020

What They Are Saying Volume III: Support for Graham, Cotton Blackburn Bill to Bolster National Security, End Use of Warrant-Proof Encryption that Shields Criminal Activity

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, a bill to bolster national security interests and better protect communities across the country by ending the use of “warrant-proof” encrypted technology by terrorists and other bad actors to conceal illicit behavior.

Read Volume I here and Volume II here.

  • Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO), sponsor of the House companion of the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data ActBad actors, especially child predators and human traffickers, have taken full advantage of warrant-proof encryption and other technological advances to hide their criminal activities from law enforcement at the expense of innocent victims. It is time tech companies stand with criminal investigators and the public to make clear they are committed to rooting out perpetrators who use their services to commit horrific crimes. As the digital world advances, so must our legislative solutions to investigate crimes that hit hardest the most vulnerable in our society. My legislation would require tech companies to help law enforcement access requested data in response to a lawful warrant, incentivize innovation to build environments where lawful access and maximum privacy can co-exist, and train law enforcement on how to access digital evidence. This legislation properly balances privacy, public safety, and our Fourth Amendment rights by requiring due process before any encrypted data or devices are accessed. At a time when children are especially at risk of exploitation, we must be sure our law enforcement officials have everything they need to root out traffickers and abusers who seek to use encryption as a shield to avoid justice.”
  • A United Kingdom Home Office spokesperson: “The UK Government supports strong encryption, which is fundamental to protecting our privacy and keeping our data secure online. But we are clear that end-to-end encryption which precludes any access to content prevents tech companies and law enforcement from taking action against child abusers and terrorists operating on their platforms. This is a problem faced by countries around the world and we welcome that the US Congress will now have the opportunity to explore and consider this issue as the Bill is debated.”
  • The Honorable Peter Dutton MP, Australian Minister for Home AffairsThe Australian Government is proud of its legislative efforts on this issue to date and welcomes the United States' proposed legislation to safeguard law enforcement agencies' lawful access to the data and content they need to investigate and prosecute serious crimes - including crimes against children. Lawful access to encrypted communications to combat serious crimes is one of the most serious challenges facing law enforcement agencies worldwide. Companies can and should work with law enforcement agencies to overcome technological obstacles to investigating serious crimes, while also maintaining the security of their systems.”
  • Chief Steven R. Casstevens, President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police“This legislation addresses a significant and growing challenge facing policing today – maintaining law access to critical digital evidence. By adapting legal processes to the technology of today, the IACP believes that the legislation strikes the proper balance between the privacy of customer data with the ability for law enforcement to carry out criminal investigations. Failure to create a mechanism for lawful access to encrypted data, would effectively create ‘law-free zones’ for criminals and terrorists and others who to harm our citizens and threaten our communities.”
  • Jonathan Thompson, Executive Director of the National Sheriffs’ AssociationThe sheriffs of America are grateful to Chairman Graham for introducing this legislation that would give law enforcement the long overdue and essential tool to help keep their communities safe. As a country we must strike the right balance between privacy and fighting crime, and this will ensure that technology innovators will work with the government to do just that.”
  • FBI Agents AssociationCongress should pass the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act. This bill balances privacy and safety, and allows Agents to access essential electronic evidence in criminal cases. Congress can stop criminals like child predators and terrorists from using smartphones as safe havens.”