Goodlatte defends data encryption, calls on tech companies to develop stronger measures

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) defended data encryption in a recent column and said technology companies should take steps to make encryption more secure.

Goodlatte made his remarks in the wake of a federal judge ordering Apple to help the FBI retrieve encrypted data from a phone used by a perpetrator of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. Apple has appealed the court order.

“The question is not whether encryption should exist – it must exist and technology companies must deploy stronger, more effective encryption just to keep us and our information safe from ever-increasingly effective attacks by criminal enterprises, foreign governments and just plain hackers,” Goodlatte wrote. “Apple has designed its new encryption technology to be so secure that even Apple does not have a key to unlock it – only a user’s secret password is able to unlock the phone.”

FBI Director James Comey and Apple’s general counsel both testified at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on encryption. Goodlatte is the chairman of the committee.

“As we move forward, we must find solutions that allow law enforcement to effectively enforce the law without harming the privacy protections and safety of U.S. citizens who, knowingly or not, rely on increasingly stronger encryption,” Goodlatte wrote. “This is an issue that must be resolved by Congress and not left to the courts to interpret laws that never contemplated the issues facing the nation today.”

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