Monday, February 29, 2016

National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges bill introduced in Congress to “address the growing national security threat of ‘going dark’”

Press staffers at the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Commission today released the following press release:

McCaul, Warner Lead Bipartisan Coalition to Establish National Commission on Digital Security
Brings together tech, intel, law enforcement, global commerce and privacy experts
to make recommendations to protect privacy and public safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in a show of bipartisanship and bicameral cooperation to address the growing national security threat of “going dark,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges. The legislation establishes the McCaul-Warner Commission on Digital Security, which was first announced in an Op-Ed published in The Washington Post on December 28, 2015.

The purpose of this Commission is to collectively address the larger issue of protecting national security and digital security, without letting encrypted communications become a safe haven for terrorists.

This Commission brings together the most capable experts and stakeholders from law enforcement, the technology industry, the intelligence community, and privacy and civil liberties communities to discuss the challenges and advise policy makers on this complex issue. The Commission will provide recommendations on the best path forward for the security of our nation and the public safety of Americans.

Over the past year, the Homeland Security Committee has met with more than 70 stakeholders to closely examine how to protect digital and national security, while at the same time not allow open, and undetected encrypted pathways for terrorists to plot and carry out devastating attacks.

Chairman Michael McCaul:  “The challenge of protecting national security and digital security simultaneously is complex. The ongoing Apple vs. FBI dispute is only a symptom of a much larger problem. But we are almost certain to see this scenario repeated unless the larger issue is addressed. Law enforcement clearly needs the ability to gain lawful access to information that can stop future attacks. I am proud to partner with Senator Warner on this initiative and I urge our colleagues in both chambers to quickly establish this Commission so we may effectively address this challenge for law enforcement now and in the future.”

Senator Mark Warner:  “As someone who spent nearly two decades in the tech industry, I recognize that there are no easy or simple solutions to the challenges posed by the growing use of secure technologies. The same tools that allow terrorists and criminals to evade detection by American intelligence and law enforcement are also used each day by Americans who rely upon secure technologies to safely shop online, communicate with friends and family, and run their businesses.”

Warner continued: “I believe that we can strike an appropriate balance that protects Americans' privacy, American security, and American competitiveness, but we won't achieve that while all sides continue to talk past each other. What we don’t want is a solution that could simply drive terrorists to use software and hardware based overseas, pushing their communications even farther out of reach for American law enforcement and intelligence. Chairman McCaul has been a solid partner in this initiative, and I appreciate the support for this proposal from colleagues in both parties and on both sides of Capitol Hill.”  

The McCaul-Warner Commission on Digital Security was introduced on Monday, February 29, 2016 with the following original cosponsors:
Jim Langevin (D-RI-02);  Pat Meehan (R-PA-07);  Suzan Delbene (D-WA-01);  Mike Bishop (R-MI-08);  Ted Lieu (D-CA-33);  Will Hurd (R-TX-23);  Kathleen Rice (D-NY-04);  Blake Farenthold (R-TX-27);  Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15);  Dan Donovan (R-NY-11);  Jerry McNerney (D-CA-09);  Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10);  Mimi Walters (R-CA-45);  Ryan Costello (R-PA-06); Dave Reichert (R-WA-08).

The McCaul-Warner Commission on Digital Security has been endorsed by major media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, tech companies and trade association, and privacy advocates.

For more information on the McCaul-Warner Commission, please view the one-pager and section-by-section

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